Visions of Colour – Yrjö Saarinen
17 September 2021–9 January 2022
Yrjö Saarinen (1899–1958) was known as an efferscent expressionist and a daring colourist. He both charmed and irritated his audience and critics in the years 1930–1950. This exhibition presents Saarinen’s core work and sheds light on the artist’s signature use of colour.
Saarinen loved colour. His unique way of using tones is apparent in his production from the 1940s. In his paintings the surface of rocks glows pink, skin is green and violet, and horses frolic in orange. In his work he tried to attain an expression in which unrealistic colours, frantic brushstrokes, strong shapes as well as a positive outlook on life were all subjectively deliberate.
Saarinen was born in Jyväskylä, in the Taulumäki neighbourhood and moved to Hyvinkää in 1929. As a self taught artist, his most productive period was in the 1940s. He never forgot Jyväskylä where he annually visited with friends and painted for several months, and sometimes up to half a year until his illness in 1951. One of his favourite subjects was Jyväskylä’s Tourujoki river.
Part of this exhibition also presents contemporary art. The works by Emmi Kallio, Teemu Mäki, Jukka Korkeila ja Ulla Virta are installed in conversation with Saarinen’s work. The contemporary works continue the exhibition’s colour theme in the current time period and open new and interesting perspectives on colour and expression. In addition, the Tourujoki video by Mikko Auerniitty and Juho Yläjärvi is also presented.
A digital installation about Yrjö Saarinen’s personality and production is projected onto the museum’s gallery wall. The installation is built around the actor Teuvo Ahokas’ scripted role as Yrjö Saarinen, from old photographs, Saarinen’s artwork and a soundscape. The installation is produced by the Hyvinkää Art Museum, sound and light design is by Kimmo Karjunen.
More material about Yrjö Saarinen’s life and use of color and his influence on the Finnish Art scene can be found at the website www.yrjosaarinen.varinakyja.fi. The site (in Finnish) also provides information on colour observation and colour theory.
This exhibition shows Yrjö Saarinen’s artwork from the collections of the City of Jyväskylä, from the Hyvinkää Art Museum’s Sonck collection, the Ateneum Art Museum, HAM Helsinki Art Museum, the Kirpilä Art Collection, the Museum of Central Finland and the Saarijärvi Museum along with works from private collections.
The exhibition colour design is by visual artist Pertti Karjalainen. The exhibition’s joint production partners are the Hyvinkää Art Museum and Pro Av Saarikko Oy.
The exhibition is part of the joint COLOUR theme year for cultural services in the City of Jyväskylä. In addition to exhibitions, the diverse cultural repertoire also includes musical performances, children’s events and colour-themed lectures and workshops along the autumn of 2021.