The Finnish National Gallery: Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, with a side of HAM

As a disclaimer: These photos were taken during a visit in September 2017, so this post may not be representative of this site today.


Museum of Contemporary Art, Kiasma

In its early stages, circa 1990, the museum’s collection was housed in the Ateneum.

In 1992, an architectural contest was held, open to architects from the Nordic and Baltic countries, in addition to a group of four other architects and studios from elsewhere. In 1993, the winner was announced: Steven Holl, from the US, had won with his design titled Chiasma (the place in the brain where the optic nerves intersect), from where the museum ultimately derives its name, Kiasma. It is meant to be a building of connections and intersections, of multiple twists that carry visitors in their journey through all spaces in the museum.

X/5.000 by Julia Varela

Construction of the museum began in 1996, and it was finally opened in 1998.

The Unwanted Ecology by Nandita Kumar
Anna Uddenberg
Anna Uddenberg

The building has galleries on five floors, and navigation through them done through ramps and staircases. Its proportions are based on the human body, with a basic unit of 165 cm (approx 65 inches) coming from the average eye level. Most of the dimensions used in the building come from golden mean multiples of that number.

Can you spot the National Museum of Finland in the distance?

Tove Jansson

HAM – Helsinki Art Museum

Owned and operated by the city of Helsinki, HAM owns a collection containing over 9,000 works, which are on display all over the city. It hosts a permanent exhibition of works by Tove Jansson, best known for her creation of the Moomin books.

This is where I discovered the work of Elina Merenmies, a Finnish artist whose work is eerie, unsettling, and hauntingly beautiful.

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