Mauno Markkula: Telephone Poles, 1954

Playwright, theatre and film director, screenwriter Paavo Westerberg was given carte blanche to curate an exhibition from works in the Bäcksbacka Art Collection at HAM. He approached the task as a storyteller, from the emotional perspective. I Was Waiting for You features some forty paintings from the collection, both favourite classics and less familiar works. The featured artists include Mauno Markkula, Ellen Thesleff, Aimo Kanerva, Stig Fredriksson and Rafael Wardi. Most of the works on show are landscapes and abstract compositions, accompanied by portraits.

Paavo Westerberg writes about the process of curating the exhibition:

“The initial feeling I got from the pictures was that the previous century must have been an excitable, sensitive and also fragile time, with the human being at the centre, under pressure from both outside and within. Now, thinking of the works displayed in this exhibition, of the world where these works are leading me, my primary feeling is one of waiting and the need of people to connect with others. Waiting is a form of hope, but it can also be a very intimate and sometimes laborious process.”

Paavo Westerberg finds visual art inspiring, and he often uses artworks as starting points for his own work with drama. For this exhibition, he wanted to turn the tables. He wrote poetic texts inspired by the paintings that open up new dimensions and avenues of interpretation. He also wanted to include sound to accompany the pictures. The soundscape of the exhibition was created by film sound designer Kirka Sainio. Playing in D major, it includes both concrete and abstract elements inspired by the works on show.