To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the Kuntsi Foundation is exhibiting part of its art collection at Kunsthalle Helsinki still during summer from 2nd June until 2nd of August 2020. The exhibition presents beloved artworks from relevant Finnish artists in the 1960s to 1980s. It also includes rarely seen international artworks from the 1970s.
Consul Simo Kuntsi (1913–1984) established a foundation carrying his name in 1970. The Kuntsi Foundation’s art collection includes over 800 artworks and centres around classic works of Finnish contemporary art. The cornerstones of the collection are young artists of the 1960-1980s who have since gained a prominent position in art history, including Juhani Harri, Kimmo Kaivanto and Leena Luostarinen.
The Kuntsi Foundation became known in the 1970s for its candid approach of displaying its ever-growing collection in a public space, the new Vaasa Commercial School. Art played an important role in the life of Simo and Kaisa Kuntsi already before the foundation was established. From the 1960s onwards, Simo Kuntsi was an active member of the Nykytaide (Contemporary Art) association and the Maecenas Guild, as well as an avid participant in Artek’s exhibition projects. He secured a strong foothold in the art world thanks to his diverse roles and affiliations. He expressed his wide-ranging thoughts on the significance of art in society as well as on the individual level in, for example, the renowned Finnish art magazine Taide.
The Kuntsi Foundation’s core idea since its establishment has been to collect and exhibit fresh approaches in the art world alongside phenomena from recent history, and to offer perspectives on contemporary art to the public. The collection grew rapidly during the 1960s–1970s, and these decades shape to a great extent the profile of the foundation. The art of this era – including pop art, kinetic art, informalism and neo-expressionism – is especially well represented in the collection. The most active acquisition period in the foundation’s history was during Simo Kuntsi’s lifespan, but the collection continues to grow to this day. In 2007, the Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art was opened in the city of Vaasa. It is based on artworks from the foundation’s collection.
The Kuntsi Foundation celebrates its anniversary year with two exhibitions and with a book about its history published in the press conference on 6 March. The exhibition ‘The Kuntsi Collection’ had its vernissage at Kunsthalle Helsinki on 7 March 2020. However, Kunsthalle Helsinki was closed on 17 March. The exhibition continues still during summer 2.6.–2.8.2020 in Helsinki. The second exhibition of the Kuntsi jubilee year exhibited in the foundation’s home institution, the Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art in Vaasa is postponed until 2021.
The artists featured in the exhibition are Timo Aalto, Göran Augustson, Agostino Bonalumi, K.P. Brehmer, Gernot Bubenik, Rafael Canogar, Lourdes Castro, César Baldaccini, Christo, Hanne Darboven, Karl Heinz Denning, Fritz Genkinger, Juhani Harri, Simo Hannula, Mauno Hartman, Reino Hietanen, Eero Hiironen, David Hockney, Karl Horst Hödicke, Antti Jantunen, Tapio Junno, Kimmo Kaivanto, Erkki Kannosto, Aimo Kanerva, Pentti Kaskipuro, Tero Laaksonen, Ahti Lavonen, Kuutti Lavonen, Kauko Lehtinen, Juhani Linnovaara, Rauni Liukko, Tuomo Lukkari, Pentti Lumikangas, Leena Luostarinen, Ernst Mether-Borgström, Marika Mäkelä, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Gunnar Pohjola, Kimmo Pyykkö, Väinö Rouvinen, Aarno Salosmaa, Konrad Schulz, Jaakko Sievänen, Arvo Siikamäki, Larry Stark, Mikael Stierncreutz, Marjatta Tapiola, Kain Tapper, Sam Vanni, Risto Vilhunen, Veikko Vionoja, Carl Wargh, Andy Warhol, Rainer Wittenborn and Hannu Väisänen.