Contemporary artist Petri Ala-Maunus’ work to replace Under the Yoke at the Ateneum

Fells after the Fall (2017), a painting by the artist Petri Ala-Maunus (born 1970), will be featured as part of the Ateneum Art Museum’s Stories of Finnish Art collection exhibition, from 25 April to 17 December 2017. The painting will be on display in the main hall, in place of Eero Järnefelt’s beloved work Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) (1893), when the latter tours Finland as part of the Classics on Tour 2017 project. Järnefelt’s work will first be shown at the Turku Art Museum from 2 May to 11 June. The painting by Ala-Maunus, who is known for his landscapes, pictures the landscape of Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) in 2893, a thousand years after the work was created.

“Järnefelt’s Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) is one of most well-known Finnish paintings. We wanted to give the vacant space to a work by a contemporary artist. Petri Ala-Maunus, a master of imaginary landscapes, fit the bill more than perfectly. We bring together a classic and a work of contemporary art, which enables us, at the same time, to reflect on our relationship with nature and our perception of landscapes”, says the museum director Susanna Pettersson.

Eero Järnefelt’s Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) has traditionally been seen as a depiction of the industry of settlers, but today, the work can also be seen to symbolise human greed. Petri Ala-Maunus’ Fells after the Fall is reminiscent of the European landscape paintings of the Romantic era, which depicted people and their culture as part of the vastness of nature. Ala-Maunus’ painting does not include these pictorial references, but instead, it shows nature starting to reclaim a landscape ravaged by man.

“Starting out in art school, you imagine yourself doing great things, but I never even dreamed that one of my works would one day replace Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) in the Ateneum collection exhibition. I was inspired to start work on a painting that would draw on the landscape in Under the Yoke. In the planning stage, I took photographs in forests in Viikki, Herttoniemi and Kivinokka in Helsinki – unlike Järnefelt, I didn’t have to travel as far Lapinlahti in Eastern Finland”, says Petri Ala-Maunus.

Petri Ala-Maunus is one of the most well-known contemporary Finnish painters. Ala-Maunus’ landscape paintings are like windows into another world, in which the forces of nature have been unleashed. The artist’s influences include kitsch art, landscapes from the Watchtower magazines, and the 19th-century art movements of the Hudson River School and the Düsseldorf school of painting.

Petri Ala-Maunus and the Ateneum Art Museum’s chief curator, Teijamari Jyrkkiö, will discuss the painting in the main hall of the museum on Tuesday 25 April at 16:00. Admission is included in the entrance fee.

The Convalescent and Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) to tour Finnish art museums as part of Finland’s centenary celebrations

The Ateneum Art Museum’s Classics on Tour 2017 will see Helene Schjerfbeck’s The Convalescent (1888) and Eero Järnefelt’s Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) (1893) exhibited at 11 museums across Finland. Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) will begin its tour on 2 May at the Turku Art Museum, after which it will be on display in Hämeenlinna, Lappeenranta, Joensuu and Jyväskylä. The work will return to the Ateneum at the end of 2017.

At the Turku Art Museum, Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) will be on display in the entrance hall on the second floor, as part of the exhibition Desires granted or denied, which presents works of art acquired during the directorship of the museum’s first director, Victor Westerholm, between 1891 and 1919. Under the Yoke will be on display alongside works acquired for the Turku Art Museum from the same era.

The Convalescent started its tour in February in Mariehamn, from where it continued to Tampere. The Convalescent will next be shown at the K.H.Renlund Museum in Kokkola, from 2 May to 4 June, and, after that, in Kemi, Inari and Rauma. The works will tour the art museums in the order mentioned above, and will be on display at each museum for approximately a month.

You can follow the journey of the works and read stories from the various museums at www.klassikotkiertueella.fi (in Finnish and Swedish).

 

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