CURRENT EXHIBITION! Building up a national identity - The Finns’ forest relationship as reflected in the art collection of the UPM-Kymmene Cultural Foundation
April 28, 2017 – January 7, 2018 at Finnish Forest Museum Lusto, Punkaharju
The forest has played a leading role in Finnish culture, art and design. In the 19th century, inspired by European ideas, Finns began to trace their origins and seek out their own distinctive culture, which inspired Finnish artists to look for indigenous nature and people, especially from Karelia. Their journey led them to discover a wilderness whose rugged beauty was perfectly suited to become a symbol of Finnish people.
The exhibition focuses on how the gradual increase in economic activity and the social changes it stimulated were depicted in the national art of the 1890s. The aim was to depict Finland not just through its wilderness, but also as a progressive nation: sawmill and factory settings were considered to symbolise the beginning of a time of economic wellbeing. The exhibition is not just a way of familiarising yourself with the art history of Finnish forests, but also the interesting networks that are revealed in the foundation’s art collection, between financial patrons from the business world and artists, for instance, which have influenced the history of art, people and business.
The UPM-Kymmene Cultural Foundation sr was founded in 2006. The foundation was established by the UPM-Kymmene Group, which donated almost 700 works of art to the foundation. The task of the foundation is to raise awareness of the culturally and art historically valuable works in its collection, and to preserve the cultural heritage associated with the Finnish Forest Industry.
The works owned by the foundation are located on UPM–premises on 10 sites across Finland, in Germany and in China.
The collection includes works by noted artists such as Albert Edelfelt, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Berndt Lindholm , Elin Danielson, Emil Wikström, Helene Schjerfbeck, Marcus Collin, Santeri Salokivi, Sigrid Schauman, Verner Thomé and Victor Westerholm.
The foundation has also two separate subcollections of metallic prints from the 1980s and international contemporary art from the late 1900s. The most reknown international artists in the latter collection are A. R. Penck, David Hockney, Markus Lüpertz, Mimmo Paladino, Per Kirkeby and Sigmar Polke