Thursday, June 14, 2012

Being a VIP

That's right. tSH has made it big enough to be a VIP somewhere in the hinterlands.

Well, that's not completely true, but I was a VIP at an event last night, and it felt pretty dang good. The facts: there was a special preview night for an exhibit opening at Kiasma, one of the local art museums. Being part of the design department, I had the opportunity to quickly email back that I was interested and thus be one of the first 30 or so people to respond and thereby get a VIP invite to their preview opening. Apparently I was one of those people. YES quick typing skills and being on top of my email!

So, after rushing home from a long day of meetings, I quickly got dressed in my art-gallery appropriate wear and strutted my stuff down to Kiasma (about a 10 minute walk from my apartment). It was a beautiful day - sunny, about 18 degrees C/65 degrees F. I actually got slightly warm walking there (unheard of!).

VIP event indeed! There was free white or red wine (as much as you could possibly guzzle, which is the Finnish way), and a rather impressive set of noshables:

Close up of the bites:

There was some sort of soft cheese with arugula and preserves, amuse bouches with meatballs, pickles, and peas, and my personal favorite - little triangles of thin buttered rye bread with some sort of mushroom butter, raw white fish, and chives. To die for.

Just as a small note - the museum is so fancy on itself that its wine was museum-brand wine. It had its own brand of wine! Kiasma white and red!

Anyway, I nibbled and had my wine like the other VIPs. We heard the founders (only one was there, and luckily gave her speech in English...she explained two of the others couldn't make it because they were at "art bars"...I'm going to pretend that means something fancier here than it would in the States), and some other people (unknown to me because their speeches were completely in Finnish after the cursory "Ladies and gentlemen").

Then the presentation of the exhibit itself started. So, to give you some background, the pieces being displayed were supposed to be a combination of art and design. It is described as, "visual art and design in disguise." You can take that for what you will. The first piece we saw was by a hilarious performance artist, who combined fashion clothes-making, photography, and childhood whim:

In reality this means she dressed up as various things (a chanterelle mushroom, leaf, herring, snowflake...the abstract version of "my undirected anger") and had us hold up cards that showed where she had photographed herself in nature wearing these costumes, but cut out (meaning we had to look through the cards and place her appropriately in the picture again, live). It was actually quite a lot of fun. I wouldn't have thought anyone could have so easily gotten a group of 60 adults to hold up cards and squint through holes. I'm sure the wine helped.

The rest of the exhibit was a bit more "art" and a little less whimsy. Child mannequins dressed up in couture, wearing lacross masks and cups, with horror masks on their faces.

Gloves made of leather with human hair and sutures.

Taxidermied birds, squirrels, and lions with crystal geods inside of them (one of my personal favorites).

And of course, the photos of the performance artist in her costumes.

Overall it was a pretty swell night. I felt the wonder of being amongst the "beautiful people" of art. Even got to meet and talk to some of the artists.

Thanks design department and Kiasma, for giving me a taste of the sweet life.

Kiasma - Camouflage

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