March 13, 2015 - Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma - Reopening with Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition
March 13, 2015

Reopening with Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition

Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait, 1980. © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

Robert Mapplethorpe
13 March–13 September 2015

Museum of Contemporary Art
Mannerheiminaukio 2
00100 Helsinki

T +358 (0) 294 500 501

Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki reopens its doors with a solo exhibition by Robert Mapplethorpe, one of the most prominent photographers of the 20th century. The retrospective is the most comprehensive and broad presentation of the artist’s work and career ever to have appeared in Finland. At the same time, we will open two exhibitions from the Collections: Face to Face – Portrait Now and Elements

The American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (1946–1989) lived a life of passion in the New York underground and art scenes in the 1970s and ’80s. That passion also made its way into his art. In their aspiration for perfection, Mapplethorpe’s pictures blend beauty and eroticism with pain, pleasure and death. Mapplethorpe also photographed his celebrity friends such as Patti Smith, Andy Warhol and Richard Gere. Although solidly anchored in their time, his photographs are also universal and topical even today.

Consisting of more than 250 works, the retrospective offers a broad overview of the key periods of Mapplethorpe’s career, from early Polaroids to the 1980s portraits. Thematically, the show ranges from sculptural nudes to portraits and self-portraits, from still lifes to erotic subjects. Arriving from Paris to Helsinki, the high-profile exhibition is a unique opportunity to learn about the art and life of one of the most important photographic artists of our time. 

The Kiasma exhibition was curated by Jérôme Neutres from the Grand Palais, Paris with Director Pirkko Siitari and Chief Curator Marja Sakari from Kiasma and it is open till 13 September. This exhibition is organized by The Finnish National Gallery – Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais, with the collaboration of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation New York.

Face to Face – Portrait Now! 
13 March 2015–7 February 2016
A traditional portrait is a work of art that depicts an individual and reveals something of their character, personality or position. Portraiture as an art form has changed radically in recent decades as the concept of identity has altered. The idea of a “true self” that can be captured in a picture is no longer regarded as tenable. Art is now seeking new ways to depict varied and changeable identities.

The exhibition presents works from the Kiasma Collections and other contemporary artworks through the theme of portraiture. While some of the works are traditional self-portraits, many of the artists focus on the body or physical presence instead of the face and external likeness. Some works only show objects associated with a person or a role, while some depict a celebrity whom the artist has never met.

13 March–9 August 2015
Throughout the ages the elements have been used as a concept for understanding reality. Ancient Greek philosophers saw the world as constituted of fire, water, earth and air. Today the structure of the universe is studied by physicists and cosmologists—and also by artists. This exhibition explores our relationship with the world and the forces of nature through works of art from the Kiasma Collections.

The motifs in the works range from origins to destruction, change to permanence, lightness to weight. Some of the works are reminiscent of the mixed sense of awe and dread inspired by nature in the romantic period, or the fundamental uncertainty of things. On the other hand, our relationship with nature is also characterized by science and research and concern about the state of the environment. 

More info for the media:
Marja Sakari, Chief Curator: T +358 (0) 294 500 519 / marja.sakari [​at​] 
Arja Miller, Chief Curator, Collections: T +358 (0) 503361980 /

Kiasma Communications:
Piia Laita, Communications Manager: T +358 (0) 40 590 8805 / piia.laita [​at​]
Päivi Oja, Press Officer: T +358 (0) 40 575 1486 / paivi.oja [​at​]


Kiasma reopens with Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition
Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma
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