Espoo: My first visit to WeeGee

And my first impression: it’s huge.

Under one roof of a former printing house you will find five museums (and on the backyard one of the last Futuro house modules). This time I managed to stroll through EMMA (Espoo Museum of Modern Art), Helinä Rautavaara Museum, Finnish Toy Museum Hevosenkenkä and Finnish Museum of Horology. KAMU Espo City (!) Museum I mentioned last time and closer examination of Futuro were postponed till some other time.

Upon arrival be prepared to pay for the parking. Something quite unusual in Finland, but due to the proximity of a secondary school, housing estate and an array of commercial buildings it is kind of understandable. There are some free parking lots (for under 2 hours), but these are scarce and the popularity of Museokortti is growing, so don’t get disappointed.

Now, the building itself is pretty exciting – it was designed by the master of concrete Aarno Ruusuvuori and built in 1960s. It is huge, the upstairs (= EMMA and two of the smaller museums) is quite dark, and must have been even more provoking back in the 1960s when surrounded by green (nowadays the complex gives less brutal impression as it is hidden among Finnish grey module buildings).  It provides apparently over 5,000 m² of art and other interesting objects of historical value

Espoo Museum of Modern Art, EMMA, was built on two art collections: the EMMA (formerly City of Espoo) collection and the Saastamoinen Foundation art collection. There were around four different exhibition taking place, some by one author, other with a certain theme.

I caught Ad Reinhardt’s exhibition there and I’m definitely coming back to take another look at it. It presented hundreds of Reinhardt’s comic strips with a political theme, collages, a screen print series – and some abstract paintings typical for this artist.

Reinhardt died in 1967. Just saying.

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I think that this new hobby of mine, touring museums, will teach me patience in the end! (And this exhibition definitely taught me how to look at things.)

Another exhibition was by a young promising Finnish artist, Camilla Vuorenmaa, if I remember right, however, I was mostly excited to see some works of Maija Albrecht.

And I was thrilled to see that there is an edition of Moleskine notebooks with cover design dedicated to her – which reminds me, the EMMA shop and e-shop (!) are pretty decent.

I’m not always a great fan of contemporary art – of course there are exceptions, but it usually a total hit or miss with me. Yet well museums with clear concept and well curated exhibitions of modern art are very, very inspiring. And this is the case of EMMA. To my surprise.

For example the following works of art which can only be enjoyed in certain moments. Not even camera can capture the piece of art (the polar filter destroys the effect)…

Aaaand the small museums mentioned above:

Helinä Rautavaara (1928-1998) was quite a persona in Finnish society. Not that it would take much. But being interested in Latin America, Africa and other exotic countries, living abroad and writing from these countries, and on top of it always dressed in outrageous glasses and clothes, bubbly and curious. She was something between tourist, journalist and anthropologist. She collected artefacts from those exotic and distant countries, and the collection became a museum after her death. Well, the museum is soon closing down for reconstruction, so if this sounds interesting for you – of if you would like to check out s Finland’s largest collection of West African objects, hurry up.

As for the Toy Museum: the current exhibition presents tin circus toys. Maybe I’m spoiled by museums in Helsinki (no offence, Espoo), but the whole museum is in fact one room, and it is nothing I will keep in my mind for too long. Except for these renamed toys. Teo is dead, long live Tero:

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The Finnish Museum of Horology was on the other hand pretty cool. Me being design enthusiast was looking at the clock design in Finland, and I have to say that I need the saving clock. A clock which you have to feed once in a while with a coin in order to keep it going. Smooth!

What else to add? That I will be glad to visit WeeGee once again and this time learn more about Espoo – and possibly reassess my relationship to it 😉

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