Malin Ahlsved | Kenneth Bamberg | Elias Björn | Stefan Bremer | Daniel Enckell | Emma Helle | Artor Jesus Inkerö | Arto Korhonen | Heta Kuchka | Saku Soukka | Pauliina Turakka Purhonen | Viggo Wallensköld

The exhibition presents a variety of encounters between nudity and art. Art education has long included studies in anatomy and nude-drawing classes. Human nakedness can today, as in the past, evoke associations with both purity and indecency. Depending on the perspective, nakedness can be beautiful or dreadful. It can be an experience of equality or divide people into different body types, genders, or other groupings.

The British art historian Kenneth Clark’s distinction between nude and naked is still in use, since his idea of naked as meaning deprived of clothes, and of nude as referring to the “balanced, confident body” in art is still applicable. Occasionally the mixing up of artistic and ordinary nakedness has sparked polemics and moral panic. The big question is whether we see the relationship between the artwork and reality as being linear or complex.

Being naked means being bare, but also being exposed, as, for example, in the account of The Fall in The Book of Genesis. Being nude also means being stripped down, and hence experiences of it are associated with space, simplification and modernism. Modernist nudity was an emphatically modern experience that spoke of health, purity and a brave new world. Nudity could also be interpreted as a return to nature, to the origins of civilization and an earthly paradise.

Classical and modern nudity were seen as opposites. They represented different ideals of the body, but also took different views of time. The modern body was bound up with its own time and was thus mutable, while the Classical body represented an eternal, immutable ideal.

In contemporary art nudity can signify anything from neutrality to the politically charged. Nudity and depictions of it can be interpreted as a feature of a particular a culture, or then nudity can be seen as a common feature of all bodies. Nakedness means a bare body, and we all have one. Consequently we all have a relationship with nudity, and with bodies both living and dead.

Curator, Juha-Heikki Tihinen, PhD


Welcome to the opening on June 1 at 6-8 pm. The exhibition will be opened by Jan Kaila, Dean at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11 am – 5 pm. Free entrance.