This past weekend I visited for the second time the Helsinki Noir exhibition at Amos Anderson. The first time around I went alone and now I was joined by a friend of mine who also works in the art world, bringing a fresh view over the entire experience.
First of all, I must say that it is definitely worth revisiting an exhibition – once, twice, three times or as many times as you feel like. Why? Because each visit opens up a new interpretation layer. You will be surprised to notice that you discover elements and symbols you had missed in your previous visit.
Helsinki Noir brings to life a new concept of experiencing art. The exhibition is built on a detective murder story that reveals itself to the audience through art installations, paintings, lights, shadows and sounds. Here’s how the story starts:
Intrigued? Well…I definitely was. Discovering the crime’s trail was a truly engaging experience. Walking through all of the exhibition’s works lays out the different stages of the story, but at the same time gives the viewer the liberty to freely interpret the works and connect them with the story. The exhibition’s layout on three separate floors – you start in the middle and then go down and up to see the rest – makes the trail even more exciting.
You also receive a story booklet at the beginning (written in Finnish, Swedish and English) which I had the pleasure of reading while sitting by the window in the first exhibition hall. Surrounded by paintings of old Helsinki and background sounds of busy downtown coffee shops, I was immediately transferred into the characters’ lives and my imagination was fully at work.
The exhibition was brilliantly curated, combining modernism works with contemporary art, featuring some of the most well-known and celebrated Finnish artists, including Marcus Collin, Tyko Sallinen (a few of their works are also on display now at HAM’s 100 Years of Taidesalonki), Ragni Cawén, Birger Carlstedt and contemporary artist Jarno Vesala.
The installations at the beginning (Behind the Veil by Jarno Vesala) and the end of the exhibition were simply breathtaking, vividly opening and closing the story’s circle. More than this I am afraid I cannot disclose, but I will let you discover the rest…
A Deadly Proposal by Susanna Luojus | Helsinki Noir’s Story Booklet
Forest House, Marcus Collin | 1938, Oil on canvas