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The Girl Who Turned into a Rosebush

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A fresh dialogue between older and newer works in the Helsinki art collection highlights many topical themes, from gender to embodiment. Refreshing juxtapositions and delving into the details of the works open up possibilities for new interpretations.

Emma Helle: The Girl Who Turned into a Rosebush, 2018 (detail). © HAM / Hanna Kukorelli

The Girl Who Turned into a Rosebush reflects on practices of seeing and presenting. The exhibition is structured around five themes: Habitus, Gaze, The Intimate, Body, and Still Life & Landscape, based on a pick of works from the Leonard and Katarina Bäcksbacka Collection, which forms the core of HAM’s art collections. In addition to the Bäcksbacka Collection the exhibition features contemporary art from HAM collection and a few private loans.

The close reading of the works draws attention to the often seemingly irrelevant details of the images. The exhibition builds on the connections between these details, between recent and older works in different media. The juxtapositions expose the works to new ways of looking at them. The different pairs of counterparts and opposites open up possibilities for new interpretations.

The meanings once created by the viewer may also change during the exhibition, when some of the delicate paper-based works will be exchanged in May.

Featured artists: Louise Bourgeois, Yngve Bäck, Jules Cavaillès, Shia Conlon, Erik Creutziger, Saara Ekström, Magnus Enckell, Hilda Maria Flodin, Emma Helle, Emma Jääskeläinen, Sylvester Kivelä, Ervin Latimer, William Lönnberg, Heikki Marila, Mauno Markkula, Ana Mendieta, Olli Miettinen, Tina Modotti, Dennis Oppenheim, Tero Puha, Valle Rosenberg, Jalmari Ruokokoski, Noora Sandgren, Vidha Saumya, Sigrid Schauman, Elga Sesemann, Joel Slotte, Ellen Thesleff, Salla Tykkä, Hanna Weselius, Hannah Wilke. 

The exhibition is curated by Asta Kihlman, PhD.

The exhibition is supported by the Finnish Heritage Agency.

The exhibition also engages in a dialogue on collecting art with the Bambi Forever! exhibition in the adjacent halls. Bambi Forever! opens 8 March 2024.

Elga Sesemann: Self Portrait, 1945. Photo: HAM / Hanna Kukorelli.

Joel Slotte: A long day in the garden, 2018. Photo: HAM / Hanna Kukorelli.
Saara Ekström: Carnation, 1997. Photo: HAM / Marja Pursiainen.

Read-headed Girl, 1914. Photo: HAM / Kirsi Halkola


Delve into the exhibition with a book by curator Asta Kihlman. You can find HAM shop at the museum, as well as online.