written by Gloria De Felice & Mahdi Biagioli
It was an early morning of November when we had a chance to visit the Helsinki based now popular museum Amos Rex in the hearth of the capital of Finland. We were tremendously intrigued to check it out. Every day we could observe a long line of visitors facing the cold weather waiting with patience their time to buy their ticket. We were two of us, and, along with the visit to the museum, we had the opportunity to interview the Exhibition Assistant, Anastasia Isakova. She was extremely thoughtful and cordial to spend more than half an hour of her time, explaining to us about this new underground museum thoroughly.
This article is divided into three parts: the first part is about the video interview we shot, that shows more the museum and the current temporary exhibition by teamLab; the second part is the chapter about the exhibitions curated by me, Gloria De Felice, and the third and last is the architectural perspective, curated by the Helsinki based architect Mahdi Biagioli.
Music: “Crows are Chased and the Chasing Crows are Destined to be Chased as well” by teamLab collaborator Hideaki Takahashi.
Video & Interview: Gloria De Felice
Assistant: Mahdi Biagioli
“The Exhibitions” written by Gloria De Felice
“Dreaming, feeling, touching. Everyone can perceive a peculiar and pleasant experience. There is no age limit, from little children to elderly people: everyone finds a different way to enjoy”
Currently, Amos Rex is hosting two exhibitions:
The Frosterus Collection is a post-impressionist art collection. It has been in the deposit at the Amos Anderson Museum. This exhibition will be always in the museum.
The Tokyo based teamLab is a collective of artists, designers, coders, programmers.
teamLab, founded by Toshiyuki Inoko together with four of his friends from the university. They create amazing multimedia and interactive works that invite the visitors inside their world. This exhibition occupies a big part of the museum space.
Interactivity is a keyword for teamLab. A visitor has the power to transform the space with just a little support in the ecosystem Graffiti Nature: Lost, Immersed and Reborn; she/he can travel in a different world while looking at the curved ceiling of the Vortex of Light Particles; she/he can feel the ocean waves in the Black Waves and experiment different dimensions in Crows are Chased and the Chasing Crows are Destined to be Chased as well, Transcending Space .
Dreaming, feeling, touching, everyone can perceive a peculiar and pleasant experience. There is no age limit, from little children to elderly people: everyone finds a different way to enjoy.
I personally had a good time, I was so curious to look at the different reactions of the different guests. Some visitors just needed some time for themselves; most of the children were playing greatly, especially in the Graffiti Nature´s room, where everyone can color frogs, lizards, and birds, and then see their creations on the wall, contributing in the growth of the ecosystem.
There is no captioning on the wall like in a common exhibition. There is just pure experience. Your body, your soul contributes to a subjective perception.
teamLab: Massless will last until the 6th of January. During the interview, Anastasia told us that they chose to have in Amos Rex three lines of exhibitions:
– The First line: contemporary art exhibition that using advanced technology. (teamLab)
– The Second line: 20-century modernism.
– The Third line: ancient culture.
Amos Rex had over than 150 thousand visitors so far, the line of people in front of the museum is still long every single day.
I recommend visiting the exhibition for the whole experience, which is definitely remarkable. Also, if you are a student or under 30, your ticket will be much cheaper.
At the beginning of February 2019, they will open René Magritte: Life Line exhibition, that will take half of the space of the museum. The other half will be for the Studio Drift’s exhibition, a Dutch artist collective Lanneken and Ralph, that they are making installation on the border between science art and design.
“The Museum & The architecture” written by Mahdi Biagioli
An underground museum of about 2.200 m2 under the Kamppi’s square, a shopping centre at the crossroads of Helsinki’s day and night-life; the Amos Rex, is a new museum centre that replaces the old space of the Amos Anderson foundation. The new venue is located at the Lasipalatsi (Glass Palace in Finnish) made in 1940 for the Olympic games that should have been held in Finland and then postponed to 1952 because of war.
Lasipalatsi is a rationalist style building typical of the period between the two wars with clean lines and the absence of decorations, which now hosts the new museum opened from August 30th, the Bio-Rex cinema-theater with its fifties style interiors, a restaurant on the first floor with large spaces in art decò and various small bars and shops.
The design of the museum was entrusted directly by the “Amos Anderson” foundation to the architects of the local JKMM office, renowned for the creation of high-quality public spaces in Finland, such the extension of Turku city library and the renovation of Architecture university library at the Tapiola campus, originally designed by the renowned Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.
The budget available was about 50 million euros, the city of Helsinki has given availability for the Lasipalatsi, provided that the external shape is not touched; the museum was then excavated in the subsoil removing 13,000 cubic meters of rock.
The museum is accessed through a common entrance with the cinema on the main facade. From there, down the stairs you get to a long and bright vestibule covered with white fabric spirals that hide 318 lamps, it houses the wardrobe and various services. From this point, it´s possible to access the large rooms characterized by irregular domes made in concrete that emerge above the level of the square and which create a futuristic atmosphere both inside and outside the museum.
The ceiling of the rooms is covered by 35 cm diameter sound-absorbing aluminum disks covered with removable grey fabric, which hide a technical framework that can accommodate mobile and interchangeable systems of lights and spotlights that make the rooms extremely functional and adaptable to the most disparate artistic exhibitions.
The floor of the exhibition halls is covered by an infinite grid of 5 cm-wide black wooden blocks, which create an extremely pleasant surface to walk on.
The domes that emerge in the square create a common organic space, composed of 5 irregularly shaped domes, up to six meters high and topped with slanted portholes that provide natural light to the rooms below and a fun motif for children, more or less grew up, to often stop to peek below.
Text: Gloria De Felice, Mahdi Biagioli
Photo: Mahdi Biagioli, Gloria De Felice
We would like to express our special thanks to Anastasia Isakova (Amos Rex) and to Michaela Kane (teamLab).