Amos Rex Helsinki Art Museum Building, Kieran Long at Finnish Cultural Centre, Architecture Images
Amos Rex Helsinki Art Museum
New Finnish Cultural Building on Mannerheimintie design by JKMM Architects
post updated 17 November 2023
Location: Mannerheimintie, central Helsinki, southern Finland
Kieran Long appointed new Museum Director of Amos Rex
Amos Rex Helsinki Art Museum Building
Kieran Long has been appointed Museum Director of Amos Rex. He is relocating from Stockholm, where he has served as the director at ArkDes, the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design. Long will assume his new role in early February 2024. Kai Kartio, who has successfully guided Amos Rex from concept to its fifth year, will continue to contribute to Amos Rex in a Senior Advisor capacity.
Amos Rex, which burst onto the scene with a bang in 2018, has established itself as an unconventional art museum and a landmark in Helsinki. In its first year of operation, Amos Rex welcomed over half a million museum visitors. In addition to the inaugural exhibition by teamLab, Amos Rex has showcased exhibitions by Studio Drift, Bill Viola, and Hans Op de Beeck among others, as well as two group exhibitions by Generation, featuring artists aged 15 to 23.
As the retirement of Museum Director Kai Kartio approached, the board of Amos Rex conducted an international search for his successor. The Chairman of the board is Stefan Björkman, CEO of Konstsamfundet, which owns Amos Rex. Elisabeth Millqvist has newly been appointed as Vice-Chair of Amos Rex’s board. Other board members are Cilla Lönnqvist, Leif Jakobsson and Laura Aalto.
Stefan Björkman explains the focus of the search:
“We wanted to bring something new to the Helsinki art scene, and that’s why we decided to look for candidates also from outside of Finland. Kieran Long was the one who best fit our criteria. We aim to continue the success of Amos Rex beyond its incredible first five years. Kieran possesses solid expertise in the field of art, and he has exciting ideas about how we can better use the unique location of Amos Rex and the entire Lasipalatsi (Glass Palace) Quarter in the heart of Helsinki.”
Kieran Long, the newly appointed Museum Director of Amos Rex, is the first international museum director in Finland. British-born Long is moving from Sweden, where he held the role of Director at ArkDes, the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design. Previously, Long has led the Design, Architecture, and Digital Department at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and led the curatorial team for the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale. He has also had a long career as a teacher, broadcaster, writer, and commentator.
Gunvor Kronman, Chair of the Board of Konstsamfundet, who was involved in the recruitment process, describes:
“Kieran Long is a fresh choice in the Finnish art scene. We have been bold and stepped beyond national boundaries and even beyond Nordic borders; Long holds both a British and a Swedish citizenship. He has grown up in a different cultural tradition, and I believe it can significantly enhance the Helsinki art scene through collegial cooperation.”
Vice-chair of Amos Rex’s board, Elisabeth Millqvist, Director of Moderna Museet Malmö, comments on the appointment:
“Amos Rex has always dared to experiment and go beyond expectations – this is evident in both the museum’s architecture and its exhibition program. The appointment emphasizes the same focus; nowadays, artists work by pushing boundaries, and Kieran Long’s outlook will be an advantage.”
Kieran Long himself recognizes the substantial potential that is inherent in Amos Rex, emphasizing its importance as follows:
“Amos Rex is one of the most successful and exciting new contemporary art institutions in Europe, and it is a great honour to be chosen to continue the outstanding work Kai and the team have done since 2018. It is exciting to have this opportunity to activate a public space in the heart of Helsinki at a time when the city is growing and changing. Throughout my career, I have focused on museums as public spaces, and Amos Rex, in the centre of Helsinki, has such potential to be one of Helsinki’s most important. I want people to experience Amos Rex as an extraordinary, collective experience of art, even if they might not even buy a museum ticket.”
Amos Rex Helsinki cultural centre
Amos Rex is an art museum where the past, present and future meet. Located within the functionalist landmark of Lasipalatsi, the newly built domed exhibition spaces lie under the distinctively undulating Lasipalatsi square. Amos Rex presents site-sensitive, experiential, and often technologically experimental exhibitions by contemporary artists and their Modernist predecessors. Amos Rex is owned by Föreningen Konstsamfundet.
Mannerheimintie 22–24, 00100 Helsinki
23 Jul 2018
Amos Rex Helsinki Art Museum Building
Design: JKMM Architects
Location: Mannerheimintie, Helsinki, Finland
Amos Rex: a new cultural powerhouse for Helsinki opens 30 August 2018
Art museum will open on 30 August 2018, with “Massless” a major international exhibition by the Tokyo-based digital art collective teamLab filling its 2,200 sq m gallery space.
The Finnish capital Helsinki will gain a new cultural landmark on 30 August 2018 when the doors of Amos Rex open to the public. The new art museum will complete after a five-year, €50 million project designed by architecture firm JKMM, which has seen the refurbishment of the landmark 1930’s Lasipalatsi building in Central Helsinki. At the heart of the museum, a new 2,200 sq m world-class flexible gallery space has been created beneath a remodelled public square.
Amos Rex will open with Massless, an installation by the Tokyo-based digital art collective teamLab. Massless will feature five digital artworks: four fully immersive spaces created using digital projection, including a new work making its debut at Amos Rex, and an LCD screen-based display. The exhibition will be one of the largest completed by the collective outside Japan and the first teamLab exhibition in the Nordic region.
Kai Kartio, Director of Amos Rex, said:
“The opening of Amos Rex is one of the biggest events to occur in the cultural life of Helsinki for a generation and will offer unrivalled facilities for the display of art, exhibitions, film and performance.
“Art used to be something you hung on the wall and went respectfully to contemplate. Today art is increasingly interactive and conversational. It is something people make and experience together. Contemporary art finds all the time new forms and new media and this is exemplified in the work of our first artistic contributor, teamLab. teamLab’s immersive and participatory digital artwork is a fantastic way to demonstrate the expressive possibilities opened up to us by our new galleries.”
Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki said:
“The City of Helsinki is delighted to partner with Föreningen Konstsamfundet and the Amos Anderson Art Museum to create this world-class cultural facility that will open up opportunities for Finns and our international visitors to experience new forms of cultural expression.
“Helsinki’s goal is to champion world-class culture, arts and education opportunities for all of our citizens and people visiting our city. Access to the most exciting examples of cultural production from around the world allows us to grow our minds beyond the confines of everyday experience, giving our citizens a global outlook, educating and entertaining in equal measure.”
The Amos Rex museum is a major new cultural landmark for the City of Helsinki. Designed by JKMM Architects, the new museum is housed in the distinguished 1930s Lasipalatsi building in Central Helsinki and will add to an established cultural quarter that already includes the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki Music Centre, Alvar Aalto’s Finlandia Hall, the National Museum of Finland, the Finnish Museum of Natural History, the Ateneum Museum, Helsinki Art Museum (HAM) and the soon-to be completed Oodi Central Library.
Amos Rex’s exhibition programme will extend from the newest, often experimental, contemporary art to 20th-century Modernism and ancient cultures. Amos Rex aims to present captivating and ambitious art refreshingly and exuberantly. The goal will be for the past, present and future to produce unique experiences and surprising encounters beneath and above ground, and on the screen.
The centrepiece of the new museum is a 2,200 sq m gallery space created beneath the Lasipalatsi square which will offer the curators of Amos Rex the opportunity to accommodate large scale works of art and performance, and to stage exhibitions, installations and performance in a hugely flexible space with a high degree of technical control.
The roof of the new gallery is formed by a series of domes with angled rooflights that frame views of the surrounding area and allow exhibitions to be lit with natural light if the curators choose. The shape of the domes is expressed in the topography of the newly landscaped public square which sits above the galleries, as a series of gently rolling forms clad in concrete tiles.
The gallery will be supported by world-class technical and storage spaces in an additional basement storey beneath the galleries, giving Amos Rex the necessary facilities to loan artefacts from other institutions internationally.
Asmo Jaaksi, Founding Partner of JKMM said:
“Integrating one of Finland’s architecturally pioneering 1930s buildings – Lasipalatsi – as part of the Amos Rex project has been a moving experience. By adding a bold new layer to this special site, we feel we are connecting past with present. We would like this to come across as a seamless extension as well as an exciting museum space very much of its time. We would like the new Lasipalatsi Square with its gently curving ceiling domes to be received as a welcome addition to Helsinki’s urban culture; a place everyone and anyone in the city can feel is their own.”
Entry to Amos Rex will be free for everybody under the age of 18 and an art education workshop dedicated to children and youngsters will occupy space alongside the main gallery. Visitors between the ages of 18 and 30 will pay a special reduced entry fee of €5.
In addition to the new gallery and art-handling spaces beneath the Lasipalatsi square, Amos Rex will feature a 590 seat cinema, the 1930’s Bio Rex cinema, which has been incorporated into Amos Rex.
The entire Lasipalatsi building, one of Finland’s most significant early modernist buildings, has been given a 13,000 sq m refurbishment, overseen by JKMM, with special care given to preserve original features that include the first external neon lighting in Finland. Existing restaurants and shops within the Lasipalatsi will continue to trade and will help contribute to the life and activity of the building and its public square.
The Amos Rex museum has its origins in the Amos Anderson Art Museum, which since 1965 has been Helsinki’s leading private museum. To meet changes in the practice and display of contemporary art in the 21st Century, the trustees of the Amos Anderson Art Museum concluded that a new venue would be better suited for providing new art experiences than the museum’s existing accommodation in converted newspaper offices.
The nearby Lasipalatsi building, one of Finland’s best-preserved examples of 1930s functionalist architecture was identified as a new home for the museum.
Amos Rex was constructed through a joint venture between the City of Helsinki and the Föreningen Konstsamfundet, an arts foundation set up as the bequest of the philanthropist Amos Anderson. Föreningen Konstsamfundet operated the Amos Anderson Art Museum and has provided all the funding for the new Amos Rex. The foundation will operate Amos Rex as a private institution.
The Konstsamfundet endowment was established in 1940 by the entrepreneur and patron of the arts Amos Anderson (1878–1961). The endowment was stipulated to promote the arts in Finland and to encourage interest in them. Furthermore, it was instructed to support Swedish-speaking culture, journalism and vocational training in Finland. The building of the new Amos Rex museum has been entirely financed by Konstsamfundet, which also provides the means for the museum’s activities
Tokyo-based teamLab (est. 2001) is a 500-strong interdisciplinary art collective consisting of artists, programmers, CG animators, mathematicians, architects, graphic designers and writers, whose aim is to “reconfigure reality” through collective initiatives.
Known for their immersive digital installations that situate viewers into the artwork, teamLab seeks to investigate human behaviour in the information era. Their algorithm-based art interacts with and is often co-created by viewers, while challenging conventional notions of art and authorship.
Anchored in premodern Japanese art, teamLab’s digital works merge western and eastern spatial depiction creating a new, shared space in which viewers can collectively engage in the universal themes of creativity, play, exploration, immersion, life, and fluidity.
JKMM Architects is an 100-strong group of architects and designers based in Helsinki, Finland. Founded twenty years ago on the back of a competition winning project for Turku City Library, the practice continues to work on major public buildings in Finland. The practice’s work is diverse ranging from housing to schools, libraries to concert halls, museums to hospitals. Many of the projects by JKMM also involve working with existing buildings such as the extension of the Alvar Aalto designed Seinäjoki Library and more recently the Finlandia Prize winning restoration and reconfiguration of the interiors of Aalto’s library in Otaniemi.
Amos Rex Helsinki Art Museum Building images / information received July 2018
Address: Mannerheimintie 22-24, 00100, Helsinki, Finland
Contact email: [email protected]
Location: Mannerheimintie 22-24, 00100, Helsinki, Finland, northeast Europe
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