Artworks, posters and the eclectic lifestyle of Lahti's mods and rockers.
AS THE name suggests, the Lahti Art Museum is all about art. Located in the heart of the city, it presents art collections and showcases that can rarely be found anywhere else in the Nordic Countries.
The Lahti Art Museum is a versatile venue that presents different forms of art: old, modern and contemporary, as well as local. In addition to its impressive collections, which feature approximately 3,500 items, the museum also hosts a series of temporary exhibitions and co-hosts an international poster exhibition.
"We present art and shows in a cozy setting," says Maija-Riitta Kallio, Curator of the Lahti Art Museum. "The museum always showcases something new, so depending on when you stop by, you could find old and modern art, graphic design displays or the popular poster exhibition. Different items are displayed at different times, so make sure to check the exhibition programme online."
Mods, rockers and Vexi Salmi
At the moment, the Lahti Art Museum is hosting two temporary showcases. Mods and Rockers, available until 21 May, takes visitors back to the Lahti of the late 1960s and early 1970s. "Those were the days of gangs, flares, miniskirts and hanging out in the vestibule of the local branch of the KOP bank," explains Kallio. "The exhibition features a wide range of photographic material sent in by the public, pictures by Jyväskylä-based photographer Matti Salmi, items from the collections of other museums in Lahti, interviews with former mods and rockers, vintage motor vehicles, film footages and other material related to popular culture."
The division of young people into two distinct, rival, groups – the mods and the rockers – was an interesting but controversial phenomenon in the Lahti of the 1960s and 1970s. The mods were known for being "smartly dressed" and for their scooters, while the motorbike-mad rockers had different lifestyles and tastes in both fashion and music.
Mods and Rockers, which is also on display at the Motorcycle Museum of Finland, gives visitors the chance to take a look at the clothes and rooms of the stereotypical mod and rockers, as well as the popular hangouts of young people of the time: streets, the market square, the local KOP branch, clubs, bars and restaurants.
Art As A Passion, the second temporary exhibition, is also on display at the Lahti Art Museum until 21 May. Here, museumgoers can admire works from the collections of Hämeenlinna-born author and lyricist Vexi Salmi. Along with his wife Katri Wanner-Salmi, he gathered an internationally significant collection of contemporary art, which was donated to the Hämeenlinna Art Museum in 2010. "The collection includes approximately 500 pieces and, in addition to contemporary Finnish art, it also features works by Scandinavian and Estonian painters," Kallio continues.
The Lahti Art Museum also has its own stunning collections. "Although the museum space is not extremely big, our collection is unique and rich," Kallio adds. "The oldest part of the collections, which includes 74 works, was received from the Vyborg Art Museum. In addition, we have a great collection of Finnish drawings, over 1,500 items from the mid-19th century to this day. The items are shown in different themed exhibitions."
The Lahti Art Museum is also connected to the Poster Museum, a venue that displays over 70,000 posters from Finland and abroad and which will host the international exhibition Lahti Poster Triennial (13 June-28 September).
YANNICK ILUNGAHELSINKI TIMES
Images: HÄMEENLINNA ART MUSEUM / MATTI SALMI