NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

The Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma Helsinki hosts three outstanding exhibitions worth taking the trip to the Finland's capital. The museum's collections currently comprise 8,800 works of art, and about 100 new works are added each year - primarily from Finland and nearby regions such as Scandinavia and the Baltic region.

One of the main draws is the Tom of FinlandBold Journey, showcasing the works and life story of Tom of Finland, one of the world’s best-known Finnish artists. 

Tom of Finland (born Touko Valio Laaksonen, 8 May 1920– 7 November 1991) ranks among the most internationally acclaimed artists from Finland, his native country. His drawings of happy gay men proudly enjoying their sexuality were revolutionary when homosexuality was still considered a crime and fetishism classified as a disease. His art has been liberating and empowering for countless gay men and sexual minorities for decades. 

The characters in Tom of Finland’s drawings – lumberjacks, bikers, soldiers and policemen – exude vitality, joy and pride. Their leather gear and uniforms are portrayed with the same exquisite attention to detail as their muscular physiques. In his drawings, men connect through erotic-laden gazes, gestures and postures. The artist drew to arouse desire, initially for his own private pleasure and later for an expanding world of fans.

Tom of Finland developed exquisite drawing skills. His influence is seen in the work of many notable artists, such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Mike Kelley and Jean-Paul Gaultier. They were among the first to recognize the artistic value of Tom’s drawings, which later toured the world in exhibitions.

Since the end of April, an exhibition named “Dreamy” has presented a selection of works from the Finnish National Gallery’s collections reflecting on issues of gender and sexuality. It deals with subjects related to queer self-searching, pain, love, desire, fantasy and dream fulfilment. The exhibition is curated by guest curator Max Hannus, a Helsinki-based freelance curator and writer interested in the intersections of desire, relationships and artmaking.

The question at the show’s core is: How does one live a queer life? The term queer in this context refers to a way of being or doing that involves liberation from conventions. The featured works are like codes that can be deciphered to discover new connections between oneself and the world. Such liberation is fundamentally linked to the world of dreams and fantasy.

The featured artists include Lynda Benglis, Jessica Andrey Bogush, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Nan Goldin, Artor Jesus Inkerö, Jukka Korkeila, Anne Koskinen, Reija Meriläinen, Kalervo Palsa, Tero Puha, Jacolby Satterwhite, Anna Uddenberg ja Bogna Luiza Wisniewska.


Until 10 September Daniel Steegmann Mangrané invites us to question our habits and how we view the world. He creates environments visitors can experience with all their senses. The exhibition at Kiasma is the largest exhibition of Steegmann Mangrané’s work in the Nordic countries and marks his Finnish debut.

Born in Barcelona and based in Rio de Janeiro since 2004, Steegmann Mangrané aims to capture the moment of detachment when the visitors stop engaging with individual works and start to engage with their own presence in the space. To achieve this, he uses light, colour, taste and scent, and plays with size and scale.


Photos: Andra Orn

Texts are created based on the exhibition intros on Kiasma webpage.