Home Magazine A splash into the past in Helsinki

The city of Helsinki returns to enhance its historical and artistic roots with an exhibition dedicated to the artist Vilho Henrik Lampi (Oulu, 1898-1936) displayed at the Helsinki Art Museum, on 18 October 2020.

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A talented artist with a literary and introspective breath, but almost unknown to the general public Vilho Henrik Lampi trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, then he returned to Liminka where he lives and works for the family farm. The artist committed suicide at the age of 37 and is distinguished by a painting imbued with magical Nordic realism, but at the same time sensitive to the artistic climate of German Expressionism, in particular, that of the existentialist current developed by the Die Brücke movement.


Vilho Lampi. Photo by Pekka Törmä. Courtesy HAM


The Helsinki exhibition focuses on the late production, between the twenties and thirties when Lampi made works full of introspection and sensitivity towards the most humble. A gaze into his social environment that echoes that of Vincent Van Gogh for Dutch rural society. The subjects most loved by the artist are farms, cultivated fields, rivers, animals, but farmers are the chosen subjects for a saga of images in which artist tells the Finnish rural world, made of a rough, but beautiful and generous nature, and women and men of goodwill, dedicated to the daily labors of the fields. Lampi has been able to portray the appearance and soul of his contemporaries with great skill and to grasp the soul of that countryside swept by wind and frost.

For those who have to spend a while in Helsinki, close to this historical period is the program of Amos Rex: space which reopened in the summer of two years ago, inside the homonym city's cinema (dating back to 1936). This place retains part of the architecture of the time over which a modern structure designed by JKMM Architects is superimposed. The museum combines contemporary art exhibition with historical retrospectives. Amos Rex also hosts the collection of the art critic, architect, publisher, and entrepreneur Sigurd Fristerus, who was one of the most important characters of the twentieth century. Interested in late European Expressionism and the modernist current of his country, he put together a collection that is today’s material for an interesting aesthetic comparison between the two styles, as well as knowledge of minor painters but no less expressive in their work.


VilhoLampi, nayttelysivu makuva. Courtesy HAM


Cover image: Vilho Lampi, self-Portrait, 1929, work detail. Photo by Mika Friman. Courtesy HAM

Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.

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