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Wild at Heart – A Collection of Modern Finnish Design and Art

Wild at Heart – A Collection of Modern Finnish Design and Art exhibition, curated by young designer Tero Kuitunen, offers its viewers a look into the protean world of contemporary Finnish design. The name Wild at Heart stems from this lesser known side of Finnish design and culture: behind its often modest and practical front there is a wild sense of humour and passion to be found and enjoyed. The exhibition allows its viewers to dive off into the depths of Finnish contemporary design and see what is happening right now.

“I especially want to highlight how multifaceted Finnish design is. I think we are currently living in a design Renaissance, where people move more freely between different creative territories”, says curator Tero Kuitunen.

Wild at Heart is an international exhibition project initiated by the Finnish Institute in Germany. It premiered at Vienna Design Week in 2019 and has been since shown in Budapest, Stockholm and Japan in collaboration with the local Finnish Institutes.

Eleven designers have been selected to show some of their works on the three stages. What the chosen creators have in common is that they move boldly in the intersection of art and design and that they work fearlessly with wild hearts and open minds.

The Raw Beauty stage focuses on material and strong visual language. The young master carpenter Antrei Hartikainen’s pieces are both functional products and pure works of art as well as a modern ode to craftsmanship. Photographer and visual artist Sofia Okkonen explores how femininity is performed in her own distinct visual language while Tero Kuitunen works with the concept of touch and how different materials, especially ceramics and clay, invite touching. Klaus Haapaniemi’s magical world is filled to its brim with folklore references and his painstakingly detailed illustrations grace both glossy china and rich textiles.

The Social Impact stage offers a closer look at how design influences society. Milla Vaahtera breathes new life into glass blowing and Tuuli-Tytti Koivula’s clothing collection deals with plastic waste and ways to reuse and re-purpose the material. The company Mifuko was born out of its founder’s wish to employ and empower women in rural Kenya. The work is flexible and safe, and the regular income financially enables the women’s independence.

Playfulness and humour are woven into every aspect of the exhibition, but it is especially pronounced on the stage of Wild Humour. Eero Arnio is one of the most important designers in Finland and over the years his works have been characterized by their originality and conceptual bravery. The rich and colorful design language of Teemu Salonen’s design-sculpture hybrids contains multitudes: it is both gaudy, glamorous and cultivated, while COMPANY’s Aamu Song and Johan Olin celebrate craftsmen and women all over the world in their designs, combining a strong appreciation for tradition, timelessness and the joy of making.

After Vienna Design Week in September 2019, the exhibition will tour Budapest, Stockholm and Tokyo in cooperation with the local Finnish Cultural Institutes. The exhibition will be seen at Habitare in September 2020. Initiated by the Finnish Institute in Germany, the Wild at Heart exhibition is co-produced by the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes in Germany, Hungary, Sweden and Japan. The partners of the exhibition are Bolon, Habitare and Lapuan Kankurit.

Habitare exhibitions