Report from Southern Jutland

3.11.2011 by

NOVEMBER 3, 2011 by Lasse

The opening of Tommi Toija's exhibition. Photo: Emma Portin. 2011

Last Saturday Esa, Emma and I attended the opening of Tommi Toija’s exhibition at Tønder Art Museum. Tønder is a small, picturesque town in the south of Jutland, all but walking distance from the German border. It is a town of quaint old brick houses stuck in the middle of the flat countryside, with the persistent odor of livestock in the air.

We stayed at one of the town’s two hotels, a large minty-green building built sometime before the last century, with creaking wooden floors, antique wall-to-wall carpeting, and tall, spooky flights of stairs. We were the only visitors.

The Art Museum in Tønder is a lovely building largely constructed in 1999, with large airy and bright exhibition rooms, and a special interest in Finnish contemporary art. Their collections include some truly spectacular works by Finnish sculptor Kain Tapper, for instance a massive fifteen-feet-tall red wooden arch that adorns the café premises.

Glass soap bubbles at the opening. Photo: Emma Portin. 2011

Tommi’s works include paintings, but most are sculptures depicting naked human figures of painted clay about two or three feet tall, spitting, peeing, dreaming – and their dreams take on the physical shape of large irregular, brightly colored clouds floating in the air above them. One of the sculptures blows soap bubbles, and glass bubbles are suspended in see-through wire around the room.

After the well-attended opening we had a late dinner on the German side of the border, and afterwards the museum director took us to a pool bar for a drink and a lengthy game of billiards. Later in the evening we ended up in the local night club, where a mediocre live band played stale covers of CCR and Danish pop ballads. We ended up having a lot of fun there, although a robust Danish country maid and her hairy-armed dance partner dominated the dance floor for the better part of an hour.

Tommi’s works will be on display in Tønder Art Museum until January 29th, 2012. I am looking forward to our next visit to Tønder, later in the fall – in the spring of 2012 the good folks at the museum are planning an exhibition of Finnish sculptor and legendary designer Tapio Wirkkala.