Scope of Modernity

Forum Box, Helsinki


Photos: Anna Autio



In the beginning of the 20th century, art and architecture entered into a new relationship with common focus on ‘everyday life’. The radical and total movements of visual culture transformed everyday life into a new aesthetic world. In other words, the intervention of art and architecture in everyday life has made us to live in defined standards of beauty.

This exhibition reviews the aesthetic values of modernised life brought about by the movements of art and architecture in the era of modernisation. The medium-based perspective of the works demonstrate how visual language and imagery have developed within a certain medium: The sculptures embody the well-defined shape of modernity and the ambiguous legitimacy of modernism as ideology. The works on paper layer the radicalness of abstract art to the radical shift of its environment. The light projection illuminates a horizontal vision of an architectural manifesto.

Charles Baudelaire, who defined the term modernité, wrote that ‘Modernity is the transitory, the fugitive, the contingent; that is half of art, the other half being the eternal and immutable.’ The comfort zone between the transitory and the eternity fostered modernists to widen their scopes infinitely in search for a new world. However, the contemporary notion of uncertainty reminds us that the eternity has an end. Do today’s dramatically changing social and political climates render the fixed values of modernism and its aesthetics irrelevant? Is there still such a thing as everlasting beauty, and if so, what could it be?


Text on the artworks (pdf)