Tales and Truths is a summer exhibition for the entire family. It displays original illustrations by more than 70 Finnish and Swedish artists from the past 50 years. Visitors of all ages can return to their favourite childhood characters and storybooks, from Maija Karma’s Herra Pii Poo to Aino Havukainen’s and Sami Toivonen’s hilarious Tatu and Patu.
Designed by Alexander Reichstein, the fantastical exhibition has something for everyone, even the smallest visitors. It is a journey into the amazing worlds created by the illustrators, ranging from cheerful to mystical and bird-song to urban hustle and bustle. Everything is possible: houses fly and princesses have wings.
The theme of the exhibition is ’from the woods into town’ to illustrate how where and how we live have changed. While the mythical forest is still the traditional milieu of both Finnish and Swedish stories, the town and urban life have in recent decades become an important setting, too.
Tales and Truths is also about changing techniques. In the 1950, illustration was still dominated by a clear and strong line, but since the 1960s, colour has become increasingly important. Modern printing techniques give illustrators a free hand with materials. In the works on display in the exhibition, the artists have used pencil, pastels, watercolour, oils and computer graphics, sometimes alone and sometimes as merry combinations of different techniques.
A catalogue will be published in conjunction with the exhibition, with articles by Dr Sisko Ylimartimo, chairman of Barnboksbildens Vänner Margaretha Dahlström, illustrator Mika Launis and the team Katri Tapola and Virpi Talvitie. A task book will also be published for children. The varied additional programme includes fantastical guided tours, dance and theatre performances and various workshops.
Tales and Truths is organised by the Helsinki City Art Museum in collaboration with Ibby Finland, Illustrators in Finland and the Hanasaari Cultural Centre. Our partner in Sweden is the Göteborg Museum of Art, which has lent the Swedish illustrations on show from its won collection. It will also host the exhibition as of November 2005.
The principal partner in the Tales and Truths exhibition is Helsingin Sanomat. Printouts are by Dialab Oy.