The Espoo Musuem of Modern Art (EMMA) is located in the Tapiola suburb of Espoo, only a short bus ride from central Helsinki. Brigitte and I finally got around to visiting the museum a few weeks ago – it had been on the top of our to-do-list. We really enjoyed it – as well as the other museums housed in the WeeGee house (an exhibition centre) – and thought we’d share a few of the most interesting and exciting things we saw there.
The WeeGee house is an old printing workshop of Weilin+Göös (hence the name “W-G”) and hosts not only EMMA, but also the Espoo city museum, the Helinä Rautavaara museum (with displays of non-European cultures), the Finnish clock museum (very small), the Finnish toy museum (compact but fun), and some businesses (including a gallery and a nice cafe). EMMA was the main attraction for us, with a “permanent” exhibition comprising about 500 of the over 2000 pieces in the Saastamoinen Foundations collection – we enjoyed the current exhibitions.
The first permanent exhibition, entitled “Red”, unsurprisingly focused on works containing that colour and skillfully presented different styles and periods in different spaces.
The second permanent exhibition, “Events in Nature”, comprised a much less conventional set of art pieces (video, moving sculptures, etc.) – I find it a bit difficult now to identify the uniting feature in the collection – but I can clearly remember many of the pieces, so it obviously is well done!
It was fun to recognize the work of Martti Aiha – two of his pieces on display were clearly related to his gigantic Rumba sculpture in Helsinki (which I’ve previously blogged about). I was also impressed by Janna Syvänoja’s “World in Colours of Water” (Maa-ilma vaden väreillä), made from suspended puzzle pieces.
One of the kinetic sculptures fascinated us and (seemingly) all the visitors in the musuem. Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen’s “Wave form” comprised of a metal tray 70% covered in ball bearings – and every 60 seconds or so the tray would trip slightly, causing all the ball bearings to roll from one side of the tray to the other. The result was a short, but loud, rumble – a sound very similar to rainfall.
We were also fascinated by a short animated movie, “A view from the Other side“, by the IC-98 collective. It is 17 minute clip showing the development and decay of a building – it was so beautifully made that we found ourselves trying to predict the outcome of the slow and subtle changes occurring on the screen. Another kinetic sculpture that caught our attention was “Moving Objects #628-691” by Pe Lang – the artist uses simple motors to cause many little plastic rings to move around in a hypnotic manner.
We were pretty tired (and running out of time) after walking through the permanent collection, but had a quick walk through the temporary exhibitions that make up the The other half of EMMA. We were unimpressed by the photographic works on display (by Per Manning), but “The art of Warner Bros. Cartoons” was enjoyable, detailing all the steps in the creation of a cartoon animation. You can find details of upcoming temporary exhibits on the EMMA website.
We also quickly walked through the toy museum and popped into the Helinä Rautavaara museum – both looked interesting and would have been worth a closer look. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the WeeGee building – if you enjoy art, it is well worth taking the short ride to Espoo to visit these musuems!