Amos Rex art museum opens, as Helsinki welcomes a new cultural powerhouse
The Finnish capital Helsinki gained a new cultural landmark when the doors of the Amos Rex art museum opened to the public this month. The museum, designed by architecture firm JKMM, took five years to complete and cost €50 million. Housed inside the 1930s Lasipalatsi building in Central Helsinki (pictured right), one of Finland's most significant early modernist buildings. The structure has been given a 13,000sqm (140,000sqf) refurbishment with special care given to preserve original features that include the first external neon lighting in Finland.
"Integrating one of Finland's architecturally pioneering 1930s buildings – Lasipalatsi – as part of the Amos Rex project has been a moving experience," said Asmo Jaaksi, Founding Partner of JKMM. "By adding a bold new layer to this special site, we feel we are connecting past with present."
Amos Rex is housed inside the 1930s Lasipalatsi building in Central Helsinki
The museum, designed by architecture firm JKMM, took five years to complete and cost €50 million
Amos Rex's exhibition programme extends from the newest, often experimental, contemporary art to 20th-century Modernism and ancient cultures. Amos Rex aims to present captivating and ambitious art refreshingly and exuberantly. The goal is for the past, present and future to produce unique experiences and surprising encounters beneath and above ground, and on the screen.
"The opening of Amos Rex is one of the biggest events to occur in the cultural life of Helsinki for a generation and will offer unrivalled facilities for the display of art, exhibitions, film and performance,” said Kai Kartio, Director of Amos Rex.
The museum’s opening exhibition is Massless, created by the Tokyo-based digital art collective teamLab. It will run until January 6 and features five digital artworks: four fully immersive spaces created using digital projection, including a new work making its debut at Amos Rex, and an LCD screen-based display. The exhibition will be one of the largest completed by the collective outside Japan and the first teamLab exhibition in the Nordic region.
“Art used to be something you hung on the wall and went respectfully to contemplate. Today art is increasingly interactive and conversational. It is something people make and experience together. Contemporary art finds all the time new forms and new media and this is exemplified in the work of our first artistic contributor, teamLab. teamLab's immersive and participatory digital artwork is a fantastic way to demonstrate the expressive possibilities opened up to us by our new galleries."