About Purchasing Artworks Online

One of my favourite hobbies is collecting prints. This hobby has so far revolved around the excellent online service of Saatchi Art, http://saatchiart.com. In case you are not familiar with this online gallery and art store, I suggest having a look!

I currently own four limited-edition prints of artists featured at Saatchi Art.

Having been employed by the Finnish National Gallery as a Digital Planner for 2,5 years until the end of last year, I got to see world-class exhibitions being prepared close by. The exhibitions of the Finnish National Gallery regularly feature contemporary artists such as Ernesto Neto and Mona Hatoum last year, not to mention big and lesser known names of modern art, such as Amedeo Modigliani or Alice Neel.

The Finnish National Gallery broke all-time visitor records in Finland last year! The number of visitors last year in its three museums, the Ateneum Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, and the Sinebrychoff Art Museum, exceeded 700 000 people by far. In a small country inhabited by approximately 6 million people, that’s not too bad for a museum institution!

But let’s not forget, that Finland has a very lively and original, more marginal contemporary art scene.

A very cool online gallery, accessible for all, called Tabulaland, emerged in Helsinki a few years back. You can have a look at the featured artworks of this excellent gallery online at http://tabulaland.com.

This gallery, owned by Aiju Salminen, is smaller than Saatchi Art by far, and mostly features Finnish artists. Acquiring an original by such Finnish contemporary artists as Anssi Kasitonni is easy via Tabulaland! You can place an order through the online store, or alternatively, contact Aiju for assistance. Purchasing an original artwork from a remote country such as Finland has never been easier.

Contemporary art has a notorious reputation of being hard to “get”. I certainly do not get where the hard part is here, and I am not sure it matters if you “get” or miss the point in an artwork – if you enjoy viewing it, be the artwork placed in a gallery space or at home.

I wish more people would enrich their lives by visiting art exhibitions, as I certainly enjoy this hobby myself.

NB. The original copyrights of the artworks in the above post photo taken by me at the Helsinki Art Museum HAM belong to the Finnish artist Robert Lucander.

Reflections After Overshoot Day

The average Finnish person currently uses over three times more resources than what is sustainable in the long run. Our “overshoot day” has already passed for this year, just last week. In general, I attempt to make better choices in everyday life, but I think being an average Finn, my overall lifestyle is very likely to be very unsustainable. I travel a lot, for example, mostly by a plane, I keep buying new clothes, I sometimes eat meat nowadays, and more often than not, I do not buy organic food.

But I think the main issue here is that making sustainable choices is not made too feasible. Our culture is based on consumerism, in fact, our whole economic system is.

So how to make an impact for a more sustainable future?

This week, I got to visit a very exciting think tank company called Demos Helsinki. As researcher Mikael Sokero demonstrated in his presentation to a group of students, the overuse and fast-paced deterioration of natural resources challenges companies and organizations to address and adapt to new trends and a more sustainable future.

Demos Helsinki calls for a “resource-wise economy”, and helps various organizations to create more sustainable products and services and to change their policies. Another area of expertise of Demos Helsinki is increasing democracy by creating and providing a co-operative platform that connects various participants to pursue common interests. As Sokero explains, Demos Helsinki “has two customers”, one of which is the original paying customer, the other one being the people whose well-being is increased.

Currently, over half of the world’s population lives in urban areas. According to Demos Helsinki’s blog, cities now contribute to 70% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Many Nordic cities have now taken upon themselves the task of becoming forerunners in sustainability, in particular in reducing their climate impact. As Demos Helsinki is effectively combining in-depth foresight analysis with co-creation methodology and co-operation in various projects, their projects may have a significant impact on the society in the long run.

I finally visited Ernesto Neto’s fabulous exhibition in Kiasma yesterday, coinciding with Choi Jeong Hwa’s exhibition’s opening party. Whereas Neto, in his work, attempts to offer a moment of tranquillity in the middle of everyday life, and is fascinated by the culture of his homeland Brazil’s indigenous tribes, Choi Jeong Hwa’s work takes the viewer into a colourful plastic jungle, while calling our attention to our materialist lifestyle and the overabundance of goods surrounding us.

I can’t think of a better way to make people face sustainability issues in an art museum than these two exhibitions combined. Ernesto Neto’s works are creating a space for a meditative experience, independent of any material concerns, while Choi Jeong Hwa points out and makes us face our consumerism in a playful way.

Art certainly wields the power of making us reconsider our lifestyle.

A few years back, the Juxtapoz magazine featured a series of photographs by Gregg Segal. In a series entitled “7 Days of Garbage”, people are being portrayed in the middle of seven days’ worth of their thrash. “Obviously, the series is guiding people toward a confrontation with the excess that’s part of their lives”, says Segal. “I’m hoping they recognize a lot of the garbage they produce is unnecessary”, he states.

Much like the current exhibitions in Kiasma, Segal’s photographs certainly put our consumerist habits in perspective in a striking manner.

I enjoyed the current exhibitions in Kiasma, and I really wish contemporary art museums would run this kind of shows more often.

Watch Ernesto Neto’s interview on the Jibóia / Boa exhibition of Kiasma: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnXmGkoqEEM&feature=youtu.be

See Gregg Segal’s photographs of the series “7 Days of Garbage”: http://www.boredpanda.com/7-days-of-garbage-trash-pollution-photography-gregg-segal/