Thursday, 6 May 2010

Onerva - women of the city

Yesterday I attended an exhibition at the Ateneum art Museum. I was charmed. I walked amongst the beautifully displayed items, books, photographs, clothes, shoes, letters, postcards, furniture, carriage, hurdy-gurdy, moving images (films) sculptures and paintings. I fell in love with L. Onerva, with Helsinki and femininity.
I will defenately make another visit. I purchaised the book that is published in connection to this exhibition. It´s an homage to my city, Helsinki.

Here is a little introduction I borrowed from the museum pages:

The exhibition focuses on the cultural life of young women in 1910s Helsinki through the eyes of writer and critic L. Onerva (1882–1972). She studied art history at university, lived on her own, enjoyed the cultural scene of the city, had an active social life, got married, ran away, got divorced, and had a secret affair. She made her living and supported her writer's career by teaching and translating, and above all by journalism and art reviews.

In this exhibition, Onerva introduces us to her Helsinki: art galleries, theatre premieres, films, cafés, restaurants, concerts, and other social events. She also reveals the flipside of an independent life: debts, limits to her freedom, and moral judgement.

The exhibition features plenty of art from the era, from Ateneum's own collections as well as other museums. Pioneers of early Finnish modernism, such as Helene Schjerfbeck, Sulho Sipilä and Yrjö Ollila, depicted modern man and the urban culture of the time.

The curator of the exhibition is PhD Anna Kortelainen. In connection to the exhibition there will also be a book coming out, published by Tammi.

Below is the cover of Anna Kortelainen´s book "Naisen tie" (A woman´s path) about L. Onerva. In the picture she is wearing her "Student dress", the front is covered with flowers. It was the style of that era to decorate your dress with real flowers on your graduation day. The dress is shown at the exhibition, and it is covered with flowers. Ah, one my favorites.

PS. If any of you are planning on seeing the exhibition and understand finnish, then I do recommend lending a voice-guide (3€). It was such a pleasure to hear Anna Kortelainen lead me through the many rooms, eras and many atmosperes. I would defenately have missed out on some minor details and witty comments without it;)

She defenately knows her Onerva and puts you in the right mood as soon as you step in and stand underneath the antique carriage (!).


oldflowers4me said...

i just had to say hello.....

sinnlighet said...

Jag kommer ihåg att jag läste en artikel nyligen i min dagstidning, där Anna Kortelainen uttalde sig.

Där sa hon något i stil med att 1910-talets kvinnor var en fascinerande generation, med många lager skinn på näsan... vilket förvånade mig ;)

Tack för Ditt inlägg, alltid lika givande att läsa vad Du skriver!!