press release

Silent Beauty. Nordic and East-Asian Interaction
14.06.2019 - 06.10.2019

Nordic and East Asian art share the idea of everyday beauty and a connection with nature. The exhibition juxtaposes visual art, ceramics, textile art and architecture by Finnish, Swedish, Japanese, Korean and Chinese artists.

The exhibition delves into the simplified aesthetic that connects the Nordic countries and East Asia, especially in post-World War II art. It is a continuation of the exhibition Japanomania in the Nordic Countries 1875–1918. The exhibition prompted an examination of how the phenomenon continued in the 20th century, and what new forms it took. Silent Beauty specifically explores the two-way interaction between the cultures: East Asian art was also influenced by the Nordic aesthetic.

The works display a simplified and dynamic aesthetic: geometric shapes, sophisticated colours, and an appreciation of materials link the pieces exhibited. The exhibits include beautiful and functional everyday objects, such as sophisticated Asian ceramics and kimonos. The paintings, drawings and prints included in the exhibition feature abstract themes, as well as landscapes and still lifes. The exhibition includes more than 200 works, of which approximately one third are from the Ateneum collection.

The artists featured in the exhibition include Heidi Blomstedt, Shoji Hamada, Erkki Heikkilä, Rune Jansson, Aimo Kanerva, Carl Kylberg, Maija and Ahti Lavonen, Bernard Leach, Ufan Lee, Ulla Rantanen, Kyllikki Salmenhaara, Key Sato, Helene Schjerfbeck, Jaakko Sievänen, Per Stenius, Zao Wou-Ki and Samiro Yunoki.

The exhibition presents a large number of works from Japan, including from the Japan Folk Crafts Museum in Tokyo and the Museum of Modern Art, Hayama. Works are on loan from, for example, the Design Museum in Helsinki, the Gothenburg Museum of Art and the Moderna Museet in in Sweden, and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark.

Silent Beauty is co-produced by the Ateneum Art Museum and the Prins Eugen’s Waldemarsudde art museum in Stockholm. The curators of the Ateneum exhibition are Anne-Maria Pennonen and Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff.