Day 12, Helsinki / Vantaa, January 21st 2012Posted: January 21, 2012
Tea 12: Yunnan Green Oolong, Eeero’s house, Vantaa.
Today, after telling my host that I usually wake up reasonably early I, typically, didn’t wake up until 1130! I still thought it was early, like 8 or something, so it was a shock to look at my watch. It’s so peaceful and quiet here, and I think that the darkness has an impact too. It’s not totally dark or anything, but you certainly notice the difference with the time that the sun comes up and goes down. Days are pretty short. And the snow is continuing to fall.
When I did eventually make it out I headed back into Helsinki on the train. It was just after 2 when I arrived and I attempted to find a few of the galleries I have marked on my map. I made it to the first, G18, and basically wasted €5 on an awfully put together show on the drawings of C.L. Engel. The ‘work’ was just printed in that classical info-display style you get next to actual objects in museums, but without the actual drawings, just badly printed reproductions. In the ballroom on G18 was a collection of Engel’s furniture and apparently his saucepans, drawing tools and the occasional painting, oh and fake bread and cake scattered here and there. It was just simply bad. Sorry.
After that unfortunate stop I headed West towards what I hoped would be a better, and free, exhibition, in Forum Box, which is an old cold storage space and echos the kind of environment you might find in the Gluefactory, Glasgow. It was set up in 1996
‘by sculptor Kain Tapper (1930-2004). Its main purpose is to maintain an art space in Helsinki in order to enrich and support the Finnish cultural life. Currently Forum Box co-op has 50 artist members, all of which are prominent Finnish artists and actors in the field of contemporary art.
The Forum Box building is owned by the city of Helsinki. Formerly a cold storage room, the space was renovated by the artists themselves in 1998-99. The renovation was designed by architect, professor Juhani Pallasmaa. Forum Box was opened in June 1999 with an exhibition by Anthony Caro and Richard Serra, organised together with Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art.’
Currently on show is an exhibition entitled Matkalla tilaan – veistoksia’, by Nora Tapper, a Finnish Sculptor. I really am glad I saw this show, it certainly raised the bar of work after the terrible start to the days ‘cultural’ experiences. Also on show in the gallery’s MediaBox was a brilliant video work by Pilvi Takala called Broad Sense, which basically highlighted the humiliating failings of security within the European Parliament. Brilliant and scarily humorous.
After that I wandered the streets a bit, I had planned to visit a couple more exhibitions, but I’m here for a while so there’s no rush. I did happen upon another a sweet little space. The gallery was called Galleria TILA, and is basically just a small shopfront but it was showing some interesting photographic / slide work by Kastehelmi Korpijaakko, some of the work reminded me of a few pieces by my friend Ida Arentoft (if you are reading this blog Ida, you should check it out).
After that show I headed back towards the centre. My exploration lead me to discover a Valrhona Chocolate Cafe, which I am saving in my head for another day. I almost succumbed to a hot chocolate there and then, but I resisted, I’m going to let the anticipation build up a bit first!
Tea was another helping of the Yunnan Green Oolong. The water seems softer here in Finland so the more delicate nature of the tea can come out and be noticed. It is delicate and refreshing and the perfect tea to quench thirst and soothe the mind.