Blue Velvet – Works from the Matti Koivurinta Foundation Art Collection

Ars Nova
Mari Rantanen: Blue Velvet, 1987.
Mari Rantanen: Blue Velvet, 1987.

Blue Velvet presents a snapshot of 1980s art, its creators, and the forms it took in works held in the Matti Koivurinta Foundation art collection. Instead of being declarative, the exhibition answers the question “How do the 1980s emerge in this art collection, and what is the legacy of that decade?”

The 1980s are considered as the recent past, and how the past is perceived varies according to individual. The 1980s in the Western world are often described as an era of economic boom, yuppies or VHS cassettes. The decade also portended a number of significant changes in society. At the turn of the 1980–90s, the world witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall and waning of the Cold War. A major change in Finland was the end of President Kekkonen’s long term in office. In art, numerous changes occurred in the 1980s in the fields of training and the art business.

Many artists well-known today got a prominent start to their careers in the 1980s. One of them is painter Mari Rantanen, whose work Blue Velvet (1987) can be interpreted as alluding to the bleak, extraordinary film of the same title directed by David Lynch in 1986. The painting is also one example of the way visual art often borrows from and comments on practically everything in its vicinity and sets out to engage in dialogue with other art forms.

Exhibition depicts works from 20 artists: Afrika (Sergei Bugajev), Pierre Alechinsky, Sam Francis, Outi Heiskanen, Auguste Herbin, Veikko Hirvimäki, David Hockney, Paula Häiväoja, Evgenij Juffit, Deborah Kass, Evgenij Kozlov, Rosa Liksom, Leena Luostarinen, Timur Novikov, Kimmo Ojaniemi, Pablo Picasso, Mari Rantanen, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Kain Tapper.

The Matti Koivurinta Foundation Art Collection is a varied assemblage of works from the recent history of Finnish and other western art. The collection's oldest works date from the end of the 19th century, but the emphasis is on works originating from after the 1950s to the present day. The compilation is based on a private collector's, commercial councellor Matti Koivurinta's, art collection.