Jani Leinonen. We are sorry for what we’ve done we only wanted to have some fun. 2013. Light work Collection Finnish National Gallery/ Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma


The contemporary art exhibition “With Seven-league Boots. Stop – Finland. Works from the Kiasma Collection” was on view at the Art Museum "Riga Bourse" in Riga from 25 November 2017 to 7 January 2018.

The Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation in collaboration with the Art Museum "Riga Bourse" and Finland’s Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma continue their presentation of contemporary art collections from the Baltic region. This was already the second exhibition introducing contemporary art collections from the Baltic Sea region’s museums and it was dedicated to the centenaries of the Republic of Finland and the Republic of Latvia.

Finland’s Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma is a place where different views are forever coming into contact, making people look at art and cultural phenomena in an unusual way. The selection of works for the Riga exhibition is associated with the pop-art direction. In the mid-1950s, art critic and curator Lawrence Alloway (1926–1990) gave the designation “popular art” to the new art phenomenon, which gained its inspiration in the advertising, television and industrial design world and directly transferred public personalities and visual symbols into works of art. Richard Hamilton, (1922–2011) one of the first artists moving in this direction, in turn, defined its desirable qualities – popularity, cheapness, its mass production, wit, sexiness, external glitz and Big Business.

Today’s artists continue to be inspired by popular culture, finding ideas in the same way in the advertising environment, the internet and social media. For example, Jacob Dahlgren, gained his impulse from a video for his work which is a three-dimensional object from coloured ribbons and in which the visitor can dive in. In the video, an artist was taking part in the creation of an abstract painting with his entire body. Adel Abidin has resurrected Michael Jackson for an interview, while Jani Leinonen has highlighted (in the direct meaning) McDonald’s aesthetic. But as opposed to the first generation of pop artists, where being distanced at the moment was very important, showing only the real and existing impassively, followers of the contemporary direction have brought the question of attitude to the fore, when a fairly sad and even scary world sometimes surfaces behind the veil of humour and irony.

The exhibition was accompanied by a varied programme of events and activities including public lecture series Global Pop Art by the art academic Helēna Demakova, Talks at the Museum, Family days, meetings with interesting personalities, art workshops for children, creative works contest on Instagram for families, guided tours and other activities.