Tove Jansson – The artist in the shadows of the Moomins

8.6.2017 by

Tove Jansson (1914-2001) may be most famous for her Moomin characters, but there was much more to her as an artist and she produced a vast array of works during her lifetime. The exhibition Tove Jansson – Art, Love & Moomins opens this Saturday at Kunstforeningen GL STRAND – an impressive exhibition which takes on the matter of presenting Tove Jansson the artist, and not only ‘the Mother of Moomins’.

Tove Marika Jansson was born in 1914, the daughter of a sculptor and an illustrator. In a family where art and the artistic process very much blended into their home-life, Tove is said to have learned to draw before she could walk. Growing up in this environment resulted in all three of the Jansson children pursuing creative careers; Tove became a painter, illustrator and writer, Per Olov a photographer and Lars a writer and Moomin cartoonist. Tove’s family and upbringing influenced her career in numerous ways, and formed a firm foundation for her philosophical approach to her career as an artist.

Tove was only fourteen when her first illustrations were printed, and fifteen when her first comic strip and satirical drawings were published. Her first picture book came out in 1933 and she participated in her first art exhibition the same year. In 1943 Tove had her first solo exhibition. As an artist, Tove was skilled in many ways, using several different techniques and styles. Her personal style evolved through her career from detailed dispositions and arrangements towards a more and more abstract aesthetic.

Tove struggled with issues of fitting in and being a female artist, while rejecting traditional gender roles and gender-based rules. In the mid-1950s, Tove met her life partner, graphic artist Tuulikki Pietilä.

Tove and Tuulikki. Photo: © Moomin Characters™

The Moomins
The earliest versions of the Moomins date from the 1930s, but the first Moomin book was not published until 1946. Writing the Moomin books provided Tove with an outlet for her to process and cope with the anxiety caused by the Second World War. But by the 1950s the Moomin market had intensified and expanded to the point where Tove expressed frustration over the phenomenon, which she felt was getting out of hand. The popularity of the Moomins did bring Tove worldwide fame, but it threatened to sideline her career as an artist. Because of this, Tove, who always saw herself primarily as a painter, changed her signature from ‘Tove’ to ‘Jansson’ during the 1960s to get away from the connotations of being simply ‘the Mother of the Moomins’. In 1970, 25 years after the release of the first Moomin book, Tove left the Moominvalley. She then continued to distance herself from her image as children’s literature author and wrote several short stories and novels for adults. Even though Jansson is a recognised author, she always considered writing only to be a hobby.

The Moomins, while still incredibly popular worldwide after several decades, turned out to be somewhat of a double-edged sword.

© Moomin Characters™

The exhibition
The exhibition, Tove Jansson – Art, Love & Moomins, created by the Ateneum Art Museum in co-operation with Kunstforeningen GL SRAND, presents a nuanced view of Tove Jansson’s work as a painter, writer, and illustrator. It includes paintings by Tove from the 1930s to the 1970s showing Jansson’s development as an artist through early surrealist paintings via modernist and experimental works to the lyrical style of her later works. The exhibition also includes some of Tove Jansson’s illustrations, from satirical anti-war illustrations to comics and children’s books. Not to mention Tove Jansson’s extensive work with the Moomins, which is presented through drawings, figures, and photographs.

The exhibition opens its doors on Saturday June 10th and will be open until September 3rd 2017. For a more comprehensive view of the beloved Finnish artist, we highly recommend a visit!

The Smoking Girl 1940. Photo: © Moomin Characters™

The Garden – End of Times, Beginning of Times

30.5.2017 by

The final two parts of The Garden – End of Times, Beginning of Times triennial at ARoS – Aarhus Art Museum will open to the public this week. The first part, The Past, opened in April and will run until September 10th / October 22nd on levels 1 and 5 of the museum. The Present and The Future will both open with a party on June 2nd and be a prominent part of the cityscape in and around Aarhus until July 30th. The Garden is one of four “mega” events celebrating Aarhus as the European capital of culture 2017.

ARoS. Photo: Adam Mørk


So what is The Garden all about?
The overarching theme for all three parts of the triennial is the coexistence of human beings and nature as well as the human view on nature. The idea is to demonstrate how changing worldviews, whether they are political, scientific, religious, cultural etc., impact on how nature is and has been represented in art.

The Past consists of more than 100 works of art, from paintings to installations and sculptures to video art, by artists such as Paul Gauguin, Olafur Eliasson, Meg Webster and René Magritte. These collectively present around 400 years of art history on the topic of human interaction with nature and reveal how society’s attitude towards and manipulation of nature has changed over the years.

The Present consists of fourteen works placed around Aarhus city. They explore topics such as the present global explosion of human movement and the incredibly rapid and widespread circulation of capital and culture around the globe. The focus is kept on varying forms of nature today and nature as art.

One of the artists in The Present is Finnish Pia Sirén. Sirén works with installations and sculpting, and the concept for the artwork ‘Vista’ for The Garden is a landscape collage design on viewing and alternate viewpoints. It is created using industrial surfaces such as tarpaulins and landscaping membranes, masonry materials such as gravel and concrete blocks, and outline drawings on plastic sheets. All of this blends together into a view on how nature becomes a landscape and how space becomes a picture. Sirén’s work ‘VISTA’ will be placed at O Space (Mindet 6).

VISTA by Pia Sirén

The Future switches its focus to environmental changes and challenges. There are 17 works of art in The Future, all situated along the coast of southern Aarhus, from Tangkrogen to Ballehage. Among the works in this section of The Garden you can find one installation by Hans Rosenström as well as a two-part installation by Anssi Pulkkinen & Taneli Rautiainen.

Hans Rosenström works with various materials, such as sound, text and lights, to create spatial installations that deal with the viewer’s psychological and physical relationship with a specific moment or space. The viewer is at the core of the works and as such they are never completed until they are experienced. For The Garden, Rosenström has created ‘Shoreline’, an artificial ruin archway looking onto the horizon. The ruin wall is accompanied by a 13 minute audio track which is triggered by movement.

Shoreline by Hans Rosenström

Anssi Pulkkinen and Taneli Rautiainen work with sculptures, installations and moving images with an interest in space and architecture, favouring distortion of the norm as the approach for their art. For The Garden, they have created ‘Constrained view’, a two-part installation around questions of freedom, movement, augmented reality and different notions of the pace of time. The artwork consists of a billboard depicting the bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö, which appears to be broken, and a car filled with seawater lifted up in the air. The water constantly flows out of the car, in essence making the car work like a fountain.

Constrained view by Anssi Pulkkinen & Taneli Rautiainen

The Garden – End of Times, Beginning of Times; The Present and The Future is open to the public
from June 3rd to July 30th 2017.

It is time for SPOT Festival 2017!

2.5.2017 by

The SPOT Festival 2017 is just around the corner, and it is about time we have a look at what the festival has in store. This year’s line-up includes over 250 acts, three of which are from Finland, as well as a whole heap of exciting events around the city of Aarhus. Since Aarhus is also the 2017 European capital of culture, this weekend is guaranteed to be impressive!

SPOT Festival is one of the biggest showcase festivals in Europe for up-and-coming as well as more seasoned artists and bands with potential to make it big on the international music scene. The festival emphasises Danish and Nordic music in a wide range of genres, and takes place at different venues around the city of Aarhus. The festival aims to serve as a platform where talent can connect with international labels, media, and other professionals within the creative industries.

This year, SPOT takes place on May 4th-7th, and the Finnish acts at this year’s festival are:

Many have predicted that the 21-year-old ALMA is the next Nordic queen of pop to dominate the airwaves. With singles KarmaDye My Hair and her newest Chasing Highs doing extremely well, this neon haired powerhouse, who first came up through the Finnish TV-series Idols, is definitely one to watch.
ALMA will perform on Friday May 5th, 22:00 at Scandinavian Congress Center – Left.

Photo: PR/SPOT Festival

Photo: PR/SPOT Festival


Man Duo is a collaborative project by childhood friends Jaakko Eino Kalevi and Sami Toroi (aka Long-Sam). The duo delivers rich electronic pop and will perform on Friday May 5th, 0:15 at Voxhall.

Photo: PR/SPOT Festival

Photo: PR/SPOT Festival


Lyrics filled with dark humour and beats invoking a sense of 80s funk that make even the most stiff of people feel the groove are two aspects of what makes Tuuttimörkö’s music so captivating. The Finnish rapper is known to deliver epic performances and we expect nothing less on Saturday May 6th, 22:30 at Godsbane – Åbne scene.

Photo: Samuli Härkönen

Photo: Samuli Härkönen


Other interesting events during this year’s festival worth mentioning include:

Roots&Hybrid – A new festival within the SPOT festival with music developed from or inspired by specific peoples or geographical traditions. Roots&Hybrid is a collaboration with ‘det turkise telt’, the entrance is free with the SPOT ticket and it takes place on Friday and Saturday (May 5th-6th).

KarriereKanonen – A talent development program for Danish musicians will be showcasing 12 acts. Half of them will perform on Friday the 5th and half on Saturday the 6th. Eight of the acts will then be chosen to go on to the final and perform at Smukfest in August.

Strøm Sessions #3 – Strøm and Heineken present two Danish DJs that will perform at Plantecaféen on Thursday the 4th.

Open festival court – From Friday to Sunday there will be food trucks (Kødbyens Mad & Marked), a roller disco, record fair, market etc. as well as the official afterparty on Saturday in and around Den Rå Hal. You can find more information as well as the schedule here.

Aarhus Volume – The area between Godsbanen and Scandinavian Congress Center will be the place for one of the biggest events when the Aarhus Volume street party crew present a new outdoor scene for SPOT 2017 running from Thursday to Saturday.

TAPE x SPOT – A specialised focus on alternative electronic music at the music venue TAPE, Thursday to Saturday.

SPOT at Dokk1 – SPOT will once again take over the Aarhus main library Dokk1 on Saturday the 6th. The day includes music and discussions, with musicians, researchers, journalists and others from the creative industries putting together an interesting program for all ages.

Headstart fashion – On Friday, Balticagade will be transformed into an open house of music, beer and fashion with labels H2O and Minimum.

Cinema Øst for Paradis – The collaboration with cinema Øst for Paradis continues, and Sunday brings with it different films and music performances during the breaks, as well as the city’s biggest breakfast! On the program for children and the child-minded is the ever popular, and of course Finnish, Moomin at 13:00.

This is of course only a selection of the events during this coming weekend’s SPOT festival, so remember that there is an app available via app-store or Google Play, which will help you keep up with the schedule. There is also a SPOT playlist on Spotify to get you into the festival mood!




21.4.2017 by

Hvad sker der, når Japan møder Norden, spørger udstillingen Japanomania i Norden 1875-1918Statens Museum for Kunst. Halfdan Abrahamsen besøgte museet, og fortæller nu os, hvad der skete da han mødte udstillingen.


Anmeldelse af Japanomania i Norden 1875-1918 af Halfdan Abrahamsen,
8. klasse, Utterslev Skole

Da jeg først trådte ind i udstillingen på Statens Museum for Kunst lagde jeg ikke mærke til meget, mine forventninger var heller ikke sat særlig højt. Det var en udstilling omkring Japanismen som var en tidsperiode hvor næsten alle kunstnere blev inspireret af Japansk kunst. Da man trådte ind var der lidt historisk baggrund på Japanismen og hvordan den var kommet til de nordlige lande via handel. Først kiggede jeg på malerierne af mennesker, jeg ville vide hvordan Japanismens finske portrætter så ud. Det første jeg lagde mærke til var rummet imellem de forskellige ting.

Virginie (1883), Albert Edelfelt

Virginie (1883), Albert Edelfelt

I de fleste portrætter ser man kun ansigtet og så en væg/farve bag ved men i fx. Virginie (1883) af Albert Edelfelt (1854-1905) var der både en forgrund, mellemgrund og baggrund hvilket virkelig gav liv til billedet. Man kan også se at han brugte mange japanske rekvisitter som skillevæggen, stolen og tæppet på stolen. Man kan rent faktisk se skillevæggen fra Virginie gå igen i hans maleri: Ved klaveret (1884). Nogle andre ting ved de to malerier er lyset. Man kan tydeligt se at han har eksperimenteret med lyset og stemningen. I Virginie er lyset mere flimrende som om det kom fra et stearinlys hvilket giver stemningen af et mere lukket rum mens at i Ved klaveret kaster lyset sig ind som dagslys hvilket viser at der er mere en billedet vi ser, det giver billedet mere rum. Man kan også se at i Edelfelts malerier er der på ingen måde sparet på farverne og malerierne er malet med de fineste penselstrøg hvilket bare giver malerierne en mere hyggelig stemning. Efter at have stået og dånet over Edelfelts malerier gik jeg hen og kiggede lidt på Helene Schjerfbecks (1862-1946) malerier. Dem jeg kiggede på var: Skolepige (1908) og Den arbejdende kvinde (1905) Det første jeg så på dem var hvor meget mørkere de to malerier var end Edelfelts. Der var også et meget mindre farve udvalg. Det så heller ikke ud til at der var noget lys i billederne. Det eneste sted lyset kom fra var farverne. Jeg så også at i maleriet Skolepige var der nærmest intet rum. Det var som om hun var en del af væggen. I Den arbejdende kvinde kan man godt ane noget rum pga. under stolen er der rum.

Snedækkede fyrreskud (1899), Pekka Halonen

Snedækkede fyrreskud (1899), Pekka Halonen

Efter at blive lidt skræmt af Schjerfbecks malerier trådte jeg videre ind i udstillingens naturafdeling hvor at malerne havde malet billeder af naturen i den japanske genre. Det var først der jeg begyndte at se det finske stråle igennem deres malerier. Næsten alle de finske malerier symboliserede noget finsk for mig. Det gav mig følelsen af at jeg var i Finland igen. Det første maleri jeg vil fortælle om er: Snedækkede fyrreskud (1899) af Pekka Halonen (1865-1933). Så simpelt som det er mindede det mig stadig utrolig meget om Finlands kolde vintre. De store klumper af sne der hænger på grenene og den sne dækkede jord får mig til at tænke og genopleve minder fra Finland, som fx kælketure. Maleriet er egentlig bare et par fyrreskud dækket med store klumper af sne der hænger på de små grene. Så er der også Albert Edelfelts maleri: Åkander (1896) som jeg synes er et meget smukt maleri der virkelig viser den japanske indflydelse på måden det er malet. Det hele går i et med hinanden. Det minder mig igen om Finland og alle de små søer jeg har besøgt deroppe. Det maleri der mindede mig mest om Finland og symboliserede Finland for mig var Søbred med sne (1899-1900) af Väinö Blomstedt (1871-1947) Det ligner et billede direkte fra en finsk skov. Det var det billede der virkelig gav stemningen af at jeg var i Finland. Det var som taget ud af en finsk skov. Det var utrolig nostalgisk. Det frembragte mange minder fra Finland. Jeg kunne næsten se mig selv løbe rundt inde i maleriet, det gav bare en magisk stemning. Lyset giver en hyggelig stemning og jeg vil tro at det skal forestille at være eftermiddag. Maleriet er dog lidt surrealistisk da hele maleriet er lidt mærkeligt stillet op. Alt i alt var det et smukt og mindeværdigt billede.

Efter at have kigget på malerierne forlod jeg udstillingen med en ”zen” følelse. Jeg tænkte bare på billederne og formede mine egne billeder ud fra dem. Det var en fantastisk oplevelse. Alle naturmalerierne var utrolig smukke og mindede mig om Finlands natur, så man kunne tydeligt se at de finske kunstnere havde deres inspiration fra Finland.


JAPANOMANIA kan opleves i Statens Museum for Kunst indtil d. 23 april 2017. Udstillingen er et samarbejde mellem tre nordiske nationalgallerier –  Statens Museum for Kunst i København, Ateneum i Helsinki og Nasjonalmuseet i Oslo. 


                            Halfdan Abrahamsen



Halfdan Abrahamsen går på 8. klasse på Utterslev Skole.

Han har været i praktik på Finlands kulturinstitut i Danmark i uge 16.


CPH:DOX 2017 is almost here!

8.3.2017 by

Next week marks the start of the highly anticipated CPH:DOX documentary film festival. CPH:DOX is the third largest documentary festival in the world, and this is its first ever spring edition, which brings several new events with it to the program.

This year’s festival includes more than 200 films, 75 of which are world premiers. These range from already acclaimed film makers to newcomers on their way to becoming some of the best and the brightest in their chosen fields.

Apart from the plentiful range of films that the festival showcases, there are events such as debates, artist talks and master classes to set the films in a social context. The festival also aims to create links to other related art forms such as the visual arts and the music scene through events including concerts, art exhibitions and seminars.

The special thing about CPH:DOX 2017 is, apart from the fact that it has moved to March, the fact that this edition is where art gives a response to the “(un)reality” of the Brexit and Trump era we live in where populism and authoritarian tendencies are on the rise. This includes heaps of politically charged documentaries as well as new events on the program. Some of this year’s event-newcomers include;

CPH:MEETINGS – a new cultural summit focused on the role of art in society, both political and social.

CPH:SCIENCE – documentaries, talks, debates, special events etc. aimed at strengthening the connection between documentary and science.

Kunsthal Charlottenborg – the distinguished modern art museum will work as a new festival center with e.g. a virtual reality and a design sofa cinema.

NEXT:WAVE Award – a new competition for emerging talent.

Children – A politically engaged program presenting films intended for a young audience.

CPH:DOX will be held 16.3-26.3.2017!


Several Finnish films will be shown at this year’s special CPH:DOX, with a total of 11 films with some connection to Finland. We would like to bring five of these to your attention.

Boiling Point – Elina Hirvonen

‘Boiling Point’, the first feature film by director-writer Elina Hirvonen, portrays Finland in the 2010s where nationalist groups such as Finland First and Soldiers of Odin patrol the streets and angry demonstrators gather outside asylum centers. Populist and extremist opinions are escalating and the political party Finns Party is on its way to parliament with putting a stop to immigration on their agenda. But the situation is not necessarily as bleak as it may seem, at least not in the sauna.

Tue 21.3 19:00 Nordisk Film Palads
Sun 26.3 12:30 Empire Bio

Photo: CPH:DOX 2017

Boiling Point. Photo: CPH:DOX 2017

Craigslist Allstars – Samira Elagoz

Travelling from Amsterdam to Tokyo, performance artist Samira Elagoz posts an open casting call on Craigslist. Documenting all encounters with the diverse group of people who respond to the ad, Samira gives the Internet’s function as a social experiment a cinematic form. ‘Craigslist Allstars’ is both quiet and loud in its exploration of the hybridity of performance and intimacy.

Sat 18.3 21:30 Cinemateket
Mon 20.3 19:30 Kunsthal Charlottenborg
Thu 23.3 21:30 Nordisk Film Palads

Photo: CPH:DOX 2017

Craigslist Allstars. Photo: CPH:DOX 2017

The World – Mika Taanila

The 7 minute short film ‘The World’ is Taanila’s take on ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ (1976) by Nicholas Roeg. This futuristic vision of America in the 1970s is without both gravity and David Bowie, and asks us not to take everything we see for granted.

Sat 18.3 14:00 Kunsthal Charlottenborg
Wed 22.3 21:00 Kunsthal Charlottenborg

Photo: CPH:DOX 2017

The World. Photo: CPH:DOX 2017

Blessings – Lisa Myllymäki

‘Blessings’ is a 13 minute short film which follows a 16-year-old girl’s use of social media during one day. It is a film in which emojis, likes and hashtags fill the screen and the phone is never far away. But Myllymäki also looks at the meaningfulness of physically present peers and adults in the life of a teenager, despite the ubiquitous world of social media.
‘Blessings’ is shown at CPH:DOX as an introductory film before the Dutch documentary ‘The Girl of 672K’.

18.3 12:00 Bremen Teater

Photo: CPH:DOX 2017

Blessings. Photo: CPH:DOX 2017

The Perfect Selfie – Jenni Salonen & Maryam Razavi

The Perfect Selfie follows Finnish Instagram famous Olivia Oras for one year. Oras is worried about the superficial and prejudiced tendencies that Instagram and Facebook can fuel. She is, however, still aware of the role she herself has to play in fuelling this issue with her own use of social media. With 20,000 followers, there is a lot that Oras chooses not to share on her Instagram profile, but these are moments that we are able to take part in through ‘The Perfect Selfie’. This is a film that reminds us that what we see on Instagram is only a fraction of who someone really is, and invites us to critically view our own use of social media.

18.3 12:00 Bremen Teater

Photo: CPH:DOX 2017

The Perfect Selfie. Photo: CPH:DOX 2017

With over 91,000 attendees in 2015, we eagerly await to see if CPH:DOX will break their record this year.