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Rut Bryk’s and Tapio Wirkkala’s collections are presented for the first time at EMMA


EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art and Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation are opening a Rut Bryk’s and Tapio Wirkkala’s unique collection today. EMMA’s design-focused annex named Aukio will present the diverse nature of archives and collections in the form of a visible storage. Aukio will also see the opening of its first changing exhibition, STILL / LIFE – Tapio Wirkkala Retrospective, which is curated by Harri Koskinen and open until 22 April 2018.

Bryk & Wirkkala Visible Storage

The collection is based the personal working archives of Rut Bryk (1916-1999) and Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985), covering sketches, drawings, photographs and showpieces. The collection also includes a variety of both artists’ ready works and rare mockups, some of which never made it into production.

Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation was founded due to the significant archive and collection donation made by the artist couple’s children Maaria Wirkkala and Sami Wirkkala. The collection, now deposited at EMMA, comprises numerous unique works and items, drawings, sketches and photographs.

The visible storage is a museum storage, exhibition and working space combined. It opens the collection in new ways that allow visitors research and discover works. The space allows for the collection to be presented more extensively than is often possible through an exhibition. Openness is a crucial component of the space, making collections accessible to researchers, professionals, as well as the public.

The visible storage’s transparent Working Wall presents the work and research that has been done with the collection. The first phase highlights the artist-designer couple’s working stages in Venice, Lapland and Helsinki through archive material and different works. EMMA’s intendant Henna Paunu:

”The visible storage has a circular structure. The outer frame contains the storage shelves, with objects placed in chronological order, while the space in the middle is reserved for changing exhibitions. Between the two is a wall designed for presenting investigational viewpoints. The shape, structure and concept of the space have been designed together by EMMA’s personnel and the designing architects, Johanna Brummer and Heini-Emilia Saari. This has been a significant venture for the museum and our entire staff has been involved in it.”

The first steps of designing the space took place in the international Sharing idea competition, which was arranged by Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation. Ideas for the concept of the visible storage have been gathered from the five proposals that shared first place in the competition. Saari and Brummer designed the architecture of the space based on a new assignment in co-operation with EMMA’s project team.

The audience can get acquainted with the design entity today, on Friday 17 November, as Aukio is opened with a large grand opening between 4 and 7 PM. The event schedule is part of the official Finland 100 programme and can be accessed on EMMA’s website:

Exhibition on Tapio Wirkkala’s life and work, curated by Harri Koskinen, opens at EMMA

STILL / LIFE – Tapio Wirkkala Retrospective
17 November 2017 – 22 April 2018

The changing exhibitions of EMMA’s Aukio space bring Rut Bryk’s and Tapio Wirkkala’s creative legacy in touch with contemporary design and the classics of applied arts. The exhibition programme features interdisciplinary phenomena and new openings in the field of design. The first changing exhibition to take place Aukio is STILL / LIFE – Tapio Wirkkala Retrospective, whichdelves into Wirkkala’s life and work.    

The exhibition, which has previously been presented at Rovaniemi Art Museum in Korundi, The Sámi Museum Siida in Inari as well as Seinäjoki Art Hall, is based on Tapio Wirkkala’s lifework. It is divided into two parts, highlighting Wirkkala’s diverse career as a designer and artist. LIFE focuses on the designer’s work results and the different stages involved in the creation process. His works have been freely grouped according to different materials and approaches, including mockups and completed industrial products, some of which are still in production. The STILL section presents Tapio Wirkkala as a phenomenal sculptor, who overshadowed many of his peers. STILL has an open display that combines Wirkkala’s works, ranging from plywood sculptures to industrial mass production. In addition to the classics, the exhibition features items that have not been previously seen. The exhibition covers nearly 600 objects in total.

Curator and exhibition architect Harri Koskinen:

“Designing the exhibition has been a huge project, considering the extent of Tapio Wirkkala’s production. I wanted to highlight interesting details in the material, while creating an intact and balanced entity. The exhibition at EMMA builds around a completely new context, as the archives are opened next to it. The exhibition was designed as an entity of its own to honour Tapio’s year of celebration 2015.”

Photographers Tuukka Koski, Ola Kolehmainen, Susanna Vento, Riikka Kantinkoski, Juho Huttunen and Mikko Ryhänen have produced new image material based on Wirkkala’s works.

Press images:
Password: emmamuseum

Bryk & Wirkkala Visible Storage, from Nov 17th 2017 onward
STILL / LIFE  – Tapio Wirkkala Retrospective, Nov 17th 2017 – April 22nd 2018

#emmamuseum #visiblestorage #brykwirkkala


Further information on:

Aukio and the Bryk & Wirkkala Visible Storage:
Pilvi Kalhama, Museum Director, EMMA, +358 40 533 4070

Henna Paunu, Chief Curator of Collections, EMMA, +358 43 824 6354

STILL / LIFE – Tapio Wirkkala Retrospective:
Inka Laine, Curator, EMMA, +358 46 877 3726

Tietoja julkaisijasta

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Located in Tapiola, Espoo, EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art’s collection and exhibition programme profiles Finnish and international modernism, contemporary art as well as design. EMMA’s exhibition spaces – the largest in Finland – are situated in the architecturally impressive WeeGee building designed by Professor Aarno Ruusuvuori. The modern architecture adds to the experience-focused presentation of the changing exhibitions and permanent collections of EMMA, the Saastamoinen Foundation and Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation.

Tapio Wirkkala and Rut Bryk were an artist-designer couple working on many sides of design and visual arts. They related to new technology with an open mind, and aimed constantly to widen the field of design through innovation. Wirkkala and Bryk were also convinced to help the progress of design education. The Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation aims to hold on to this optimistic spirit and to further the evolution of the design field together with universities and other institutions offering design education.

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