June 2, 2020 - Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma - Mad Love
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June 2, 2020

Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma

Jussi Goman, Seppo Gazing at the Distant Star in Bacon’s Room, 2019. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Petri Virtanen.

Mad Love
The Seppo Fränti Collection in Kiasma
March 27, 2020–January 10, 2021

Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma
Mannerheiminaukio 2
FI-00100 Helsinki
Finland

www.kiasma.fi
Instagram / Twitter / Facebook

Mad Love
The Seppo Fränti Collection in Kiasma
March 27, 2020–January 10, 2021

Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma
Mannerheiminaukio 2
FI-00100 Helsinki
Finland

www.kiasma.fi
Instagram / Twitter / Facebook

In 2017 the Helsinki-based collector Seppo Fränti donated his extensive collection to Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma. The exhibition Mad Love, opening on March 27, takes a deep dive into Fränti’s collection and the passion that brought it into being. 

The Seppo Fränti Collection consists mostly of contemporary Finnish art, with a focus on recent painting. Fränti has remained true to his vision and trusted his intuition: for him, art is not an investment but a passion. His collection spans a wide spectrum of styles from powerful expressionism to subtle minimalism.  

The collection comprises around 250 paintings, close to 400 works on paper, some sculptures, photographs, installations and small objects. It makes an excellent addition to Kiasma’s prior collection of Finnish paintings from the first decades of the 2000s. It holds extensive selections of work by artists such as Olli Marttila (b. 1948), Henry Wuorila-Stenberg (b. 1949), Jussi Goman (b. 1980) and Kim Somervuori (b. 1975). With regard to printmaking, Eeva Tiisala (b. 1952) is among the artists with a strong representation in the collection. As for international art, the collection has work by the Estonian artist Alexei Gordin (b. 1989) and the Swedish-born Robin Lindqvist (b. 1979), among others. 

Fränti describes collecting as his life’s calling. It started in childhood, when he began collecting insects, medicinal plants, and pictures of film stars and cars. He acquired his first paintings in the late 1970s. Recently his home became so effusively filled with art that he could barely wind his way along the narrow pathways between stacks of paintings. 

For Fränti, collecting art is also about people. He personally knows nearly all the artists in his collection, and many have become his close friends. Fränti describes his collecting in the following way: “Actually, I might say I collect art in the same way that I walk down the street and see people. Some I notice, some I don’t. Of course, people aren’t works of art, but still. This is the kind of experience that moves me. Artworks, like people, provoke a feeling. That is important to me and that is how I have bought art. I like the kinds of works that show signs of living.“

For a private collector, donating a collection to a museum can simultaneously present itself as the climax of a lifetime’s effort and as its destruction: individual pieces lovingly acquired are merged into a larger entity and the collector may worry whether the original collection will be much assimilated, erasing the collector’s handprint. While the Fränti Collection complements the museum’s collection, it also alters it. The donation comprises works by 90 artists, of whom more than 50 are new to the museum. As many as 60 per cent of the artists in the Fränti Collection were born in the 1970s and 1980s.

“Building an exhibition based on the donated works was challenging. How does a collection change when it is displayed in museum galleries instead of a home? Despite not having reconstructed the collector's art-filled home, we have done our best to exemplify the collector’s approach and his passion for the collected art with our choices and juxtapositions.” – reflect the curators Saara Hacklin and Kati Kivinen on the exhibition project.

The exhibition catalogue, published in collaboration with the Helsinki-based publishing house Parvs, highlights the exceptional composition of the Seppo Fränti Collection in which abstract minimalism meets intensively expressive art. It includes articles from curators of the Mad Love exhibition, Kati Kivinen and Saara Hacklin as well as articles from art historians Juha-Heikki Tihinen and Riikka Stewen. Museum Director Leevi Haapala interviewed Seppo Fränti for the catalogue.

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