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Ateneum

THE MAGIC OF LAPLAND

In depicting Lapland, which subjects have attracted Finnish artists most? Ateneum Helsinki - 18 June 2011 - 8 Jan 2012

BIFORMI (mobile) - exhibition at 'the magic of Lapland' exhibition at Ateneum in Helsinki, Finland.

"Finnish Lapland covers a large area – almost a third of the whole country – but has only 185,000 people. A 'Lapp', or 'Lapplander', is anyone resident in Lapland, while 'Sami' is used only of a member of the indigenous, originally nomadic, people who populate the far north. The administrative centre of Lapland is the town of Rovaniemi, its biggest lake Inarinjärvi and its highest point Halti fell. 'Finnish Lapland' means the whole area covered by the Province of Lapland. In terms of its geography Lapland divides into four regions: Kittilä, Sompio, Enontekiö and Inari.

There is a lot of art around on Lapland subjects. Because an exhibition is always the result of choices, this one can obviously cover only a very small cross-section of it. In making these choices, we were greatly helped by art historian Tuija Hautala-Hirvioja's research on the history of Lapland art.

Whenever I visit Lapland I notice yet again that distances are relative in the far north. Viewed from southern Finland, the north means freedom and open spaces to many people, together with silence and the chance to wander in real wilds.

A couple of years ago I visited the offices of Rovaniemi Art Museum. On the wall there was a man-sized map of Finland rising from the floor, and when I stood in front of it my eyes were on a level with Rovaniemi. Once again I was shown that rush-hour Finland, Helsinki and the art concentrations of the south are very far away seen from a Lapland viewpoint.

Through this exhibition, we can shift the focus of our own mental map to a very different place for a while and contemplate only Lapland.
"

Maija Tanninen-Mattila
Director, Ateneum Art Museum Curator of the Magic of Lapland exhibition, author of the website texts


 

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