The exhibition presents works from a notable Finnish collection of contemporary art. The Niemistö Collection is a private, accumulating collection of contemporary art deposited in the Hämeenlinna Art Museum.
Since the 1960s, the collection has been gathered by the successful business couple Henna (1933–2004) and Pertti Niemistö (1931–1999) and later by their son Kari Niemistö with his spouse Leena Niemistö. The family’s interest in visual art along with their personal preferences, as well as the appeal of a piece of art, have guided the purchases of both generations. The majority were focused on contemporary art.
The collection, which is continuously enriched by new acquisitions, currently includes nearly 600 works. The collection features Finnish visual art with an especially strong emphasis on sculpture. Thanks to the fact that the works have been collected over the course of two generations, there are pieces by a number of artists spanning several decades.
The most important prize within visual arts in Finland, Ars Fennica, is awarded every other year by the Henna and Pertti Niemistö Art Foundation – established by the couple. The collection includes a comprehensive selection of works by Ars Fennica award winners.
The Heart Open to Art exhibition presents 74 works of art from the Niemistö Collection, most of which date from the new millennium. The 30 artists represented in the exhibition are: Martti Aiha, Emma Ainala, Bård Breivik, Kari Cavén, Jacob Dahlgren, Hreinn Friðfinnsson, Peter Frie, Anne-Karin Furunes, Hannaleena Heiska, Heli Hiltunen, Pekka Kauhanen, Pertti Kekarainen, Anne Koskinen, Niko Luoma, Elina Merenmies, Jukka Mäkelä, Paul Osipow, Outi Pienimäki, Vesa-Pekka Rannikko, Silja Rantanen, Heli Rekula, Anna Retulainen, Perttu Saksa, Johan Scott, Mika Taanila, Anu Tuominen, Samppa Törmälehto, Marianna Uutinen, Camilla Vuorenmaa and Henry Wuorila-Stenberg.