Exhibition review Caves, diamonds, purgatory and also Korean tax free – The idea of ​​presenting underground art in an underground museum is ingenious

10.4. 16:00

Visual arts

Underground 21.8. until Amos Rex (Mannerheimintie 22–24). Mon 11 am, 8 pm, closed, Wed – Fri 11 am – 8 pm, Sat – Sun 11 am – 5 pm.

Amos Rexin the idea for the new exhibition is simple genius: an underground museum showcases the art of underground. The subject may seem intuitively marginal, but the exhibition shows that the worlds hidden under our feet have fascinated artists for centuries.

And why not be fascinated.

Underground can find diamonds, glowing magma and valuable minerals. There are sewers, metro tunnels and catacombs beneath the cities, of which nothing on the surface may be known.

If you go deep enough, you could end up in Wonderland, the labyrinth of the Minotaur, or hell at worst. Underground worlds, both real and imagined, have a surprising amount of cultural history.

The exhibition, which approaches the theme in a versatile way, presents works by 62 artists from the 17th century to the present day. Old and contemporary art have come together in a surprisingly natural way. Romanticized cave views, imaginations of sci-fi literature, mythologies, and environmentally critical contemporary art intersect associatively.

The exhibition concept is based on an art critic Pontus Kyanderand the exhibition has been compiled by Amos’ curator Anastasia Isakova.

The Italian graphic artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778) is best known for his series of etchings, Imaginary Prisons.

Exhibition the older and most historically famous stratum is represented by an Italian Giovanni Battista Piranesin (1720-1778) Imaginary prisons series etchings. Huge underground halls with labyrinthine staircases and torture devices have impressed romantics and surrealists as well as filmmakers.

It is also impressive Auguste Rodinin (1840–1917) sculptures Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini (1894), who presents the scene Danten About the divine play. Francesca, who killed her husband, is doomed with her lover Paolo to swirl on the other side of hell in a raging hurricane that prevents them from embracing each other.

The sculpture depicts a moment when Paolo almost gets a grip on Francesca, who, however, seems to be swaying in the wind to rip off.

Detail from Katja Tukiainen’s work Dante et Virgile aux enfers (2019).

A different kind Dante’s interpretation is provided by Katja Tukiainen (b. 1969) Dante et Virgile aux enfers (2019) based on a romantic painter Eugène Delacroix’n to a painting of the same name from 1822.

In the original work, Dante is crossing the Styks stream on his way to hell with his guide. In the version of Tukiainen, hell has turned into a candy-colored paradise, and instead of suffering souls, a bunch of enjoyable girls are splashing in the stream.

A small treasure cave forms a corner that presents illustrations of books on underground journeys. Of course they are involved Lewis Carrollin Lisa’s adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Jules Vernen Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), but attention is drawn to lesser-known works.

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One of the earliest sci-fi books Ludvig Holbergin (1684–1754) Niilo Klim’s underground journey (1741) conquers with his illustrations the underground wood-human people. John Augustus Knappin illustrations John Uri Lloydin to a sci-fi novel Etidorhpa (1895) again reach the rugged landscapes of the underground world on a small scale.

Miss DMZ (2020-2022), a video work by the South Korean Young-apply Chang Heavy Industries collective, takes you to an underground tax-free store.

A satirical video work by the South Korean Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries collective tells of the most modern underground utopia (or dystopia?) Miss DMZ (2020-2022). The text, which praises the pace of swinging music, tells of a tax-free shop below the demilitarized area between South and North Korea, where the narrator meets the woman of her life.

Diamondscape (2012) by Cameroonian Pascale Marthine Tayou (b. 1966) is reminiscent of the human suffering associated with blood diamonds.

Underground in addition to travel, one recurring perspective in the exhibition is the treasures found underground.

Ane Graffin (b. 1974) the drawings of the minerals are astonishingly inaccurate, and AK Dolven (b. 1953) has found a special block of marble that looks like a petrified sunset. Axel Straschnoy (b. 1978), on the other hand, has exhibited the fossilized poop of an ancient sloth.

At the same time, the exhibition is reminiscent of the remains left after digging the ground. Jussi Kiven (b. 1959) pictures of an abandoned copper mine tell of environmental destruction, a Cameroonian Pascale Marthine Tayoun (b. 1966) Diamondscape (2012) again on human suffering associated with blood diamonds.

The exhibition maps its theme is commendably multidimensional, but at the same time the number of works has grown unnecessarily large. The hanging of the exhibition is very narrow and not all works get their rights properly.

There could have been room for contraction to the extent that the connection of a few works to the theme of the exhibition is quite thin.

For example Gustav Metzgerin (1926–2017) and Peter Johansson (b. 1964) as such, the works of interest deal with historical and personal hells, but the theme of underground remains quite referential in them.

Pipilotti Rist’s video installation Selbstlos im Lavabad (Selfless In The Bath Of Lava), 1994. – Still image from the video.

View of the Maanala exhibition. In the middle of Nicola Hicks ’sculpture Ode to Philip Larkin (2021).

The exhibition concept was created by curator Pontus Kyander.

Curator Anastasia Isakova

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