An exhibition and a catalogue about the architecture, fine art, and design at the beginning of the 20th century.
17 September - 28 November 2004 Finland, Espoo, Axeli Gallen-Kallela Museum
11 December 2004 - 13 February 2005 Hungary, Budapest, Ernst Museum
Joint exhibition of the Axeli Gallen-Kallela Museum in Espoo and the Ernst Museum in Budapest with the contribution of the Hungarian Cultural Centre in Helsinki.
A significant change in art history happened about one hundred years ago when beside the traditional European art centres the cultures of the "peripheries" did also establish their distinct and individual art worlds. They did not loose touch with the "centres" but they rather sought to cultivate relationships with each other. This regionalism resulted in remarkable artistic qualities and friendships, which the western discourse and understanding of art history has noticed just recently.
The connection between Finnish and Hungarian architecture, fine art, and design is hardly known outside academic circles. The resounding success and effect of the Finnish Pavilion at 1900 Paris World's Fair was preceded in the Hungarian cultural life by the rise of scientific (ethnographic) and literary interest and art events. This was followed by the boom of the vernacular architecture, founding Finnish art collections in Hungary and contribution to art and design movements that were related to Finnish ones - strengthened by personal friendships of artists (Saarinen and Géza Maróti, Axeli Gallen-Kallela and the Gödöllő group).Through their masters the younger generation too (Károly Kós and his fellows) became involved in the trend of modernism that was based on local traditions, which has got ignored since then.
On the exhibition the material documents of these relationships and artworks representing the Finnish "national romanticism" and the related concept of art in Hungary at the beginning of the 20th century are being displayed. This concept of art includes the influence of folklore, search for a national myth, design derived from household crafts, and architecture rooted in traditional country house-building and the sources of all these which make up a version of modernism founded on traditions. In addition to these, works made in Finland by Hungarian artist and in Hungary by Finnish artists are obviously included.
This period, which was rich in collective exhibitions, publications, journeys (or even resettlements), and artworks is being revived by the show in Ernst Museum and in Espoo.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue that contains essays of Finnish and Hungarian authors that survey the history of these collaborations and interconnections from the Paris World's Fair to the work made by Saarinen and Maróti together in the USA in 1920s. (K. Keserü)