4 x finsk kunstdesign at Kunstmuseet i Tønder

17.10.2017 by

Kunstmuseet i Tønder’s new exhibition 4 x finsk kunstdesign shows a different take on the golden age of Finnish design, which is usually depicted through the works of Alvar Aalto, Tapio Wirkkala and Timo Sarpaneva. This exhibition focuses on showing the audience something new, an unknown side of Finnish design. The exhibition consists of works by Michael Schilkin, Kaj Franck, Helena Tynell and Rut Bryk.

Helena Tynell, Skov, 1968-1976

Rut Bryk, Michael Schilkin, various pieces


Markku Valkonen, the exhibition’s curator, says that the idea was: ”Not to do a typical Finnish international design exhibition, which is usually abstract, clear glass and not much colour. The Finnish history is a bit different, especially in the 40’s. There is much colour, a strong connection to sculpting and a picturesque element”.

Michael Schilkin, Maske, udateret

The reason why Schilkin, Franck, Tynell and Bryk didn’t acquire international fame, and why some Finnish people aren’t even familiar with the name Schilkin is according to Valkonen: ”The breakthrough during 1950’s of pure form, simplistic and minimalistic design. For the next decades it was specifically this type of design that were presented as Finnish design, and the rest was forgotten”.

Schilkin, Franck, Tynell, Bryk, Aalto, Wirkkala and Sarpaneva all worked in a Finland that hade been severely weakened by the Second World War and by the war reparations to the Soviet Union. Nevertheless Finnish design moved forward with innovative designs. Alongside design that was heavily influenced by Finnish nature was design that was inspired by free art, blurring the lines between design and sculpture/relief. The latter movement has started to gain some ground.

”Even art and what people are interested in is cyclical” says Valkonen, referring to an exhibition at EMMA which showed early works by Rut Bryk and which generated a huge interest from the public.

Kaj Franck, Skål med håndtag, 1970’erne

Kyösti Kakkonen

 The works exhibited at 4 x finsk kunstdesign is unique in two ways. Firstly it focuses on shedding new light on the history of Finnish design. Secondly the art works exhibited comes from a private art collection, more specifically from Kyösti Kakkonen’s collection.

Kakkonen has a vast art collection, consisting of about 10 000 art pieces. The focus of his collection lies in ceramic and glass art. Kakkonen is also generous with his collection, borrowing pieces to all over the world. Kakkonens engagement in art and the sheer size of his collection means that there are unique pieces just waiting to find an audience. Many of the works in 4x finsk kunstdesign has probably never been shown after they were made many decades ago.





The exhibiton can be seen until 3.4.2018 at Kunstmuseet i Tønder.

Rut Bryk, Venetiansk Palads: Harlequin, 1955

Michael Schilkin, Liggende figur, 1940’erne