Tag: art

Why “Helsinki Affair”?

I realized recently that I haven’t told you why my blog is called “Helsinki Affair”. It’s actually a pretty interesting story 🙂

When we just moved to Helsinki, I noticed that many houses have the memory plates, saying which famous person used to live there. In most cases, these are either writers or philosophers. It’s a very exciting exercise, by the way, to walk around the city reading these signs and picturing how this or that neighbourhood looked like at the time, when this person was still alive. For those, who have troubles imagining, there is an interactive map of Helsinki, where you can track how Helsinki has been changing.

But back to my story. Once I spotted a similar memory plate on the adjoining house. As I didn’t speak a word of Finnish at that time, I was only able to understand that someone called Mauri Sariola used to live there. I decided he was a painter, because his portrait was quiet artsy 🙂 See for yourself:

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Later on with Markku’s help, I figured out that Mauri Sariola was a writer 🙂 I got interested, did some research and even managed to find one decent article about him in English.

What caught my attention is that Sariola studied law, but decided to abandon his studies. He worked for a bit at the law firm and at the bank. He also worked as a teacher at the elementary school. Later on, he became a reporter and wrote for Apu, Helsingin Sanomat and other newspapers and magazines. For 10 years Sariola was working as a crime reporter for Helsingin Sanomat, and after that he started his career as a writer.

He wrote over 80 books, most of which were crime and mystery novels. One of them, “The Helsinki Affair” (“Lavean tien laki” in Finnish), won the French literary prize Prix du Roman d’adventures. It’s a story about a young lawyer, Matti Viima, who investigates a mysterious case.

The book’s name captivated me. “Helsinki affair” was a perfect way to describe my feelings to the Finnish capital. I fall in love with it in a darkness and gloominess of November, when fallen leaves got slightly covered with a spider nets of ice and a sharp steeple of a nearby church pierced pearl grey clouds. After all, it was an affair of sorts 🙂

It was also a great motto for me reminding to keep looking for my way and to settle in a new life. As I wasn’t able to find this book in English, I decided to learn Finnish and read the original. Now, whenever I come back from language classes, I just look up at this plate and remember about my plan to read “The Helsinki Affair”. It gives me extra motivation and a strong desire to move forward. Hence, the blog name 🙂

Edvard Munch – “The Art of Life” Exhibition

Today Markku and I went to the Didrichsen Art Museum to see the work of famous Edvard Munch. The exhibition includes the paintings from several museums, but most of them are borrowed from Oslo.

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I wish I learned about this event earlier. It started in September, and tomorrow is the last day when it’s open, so a lot of other people rushed there with us. I saw a report on the Finnish news that 60,000 people have attended it so far. I decided we are not worse than this 60K cultural guys, and despite the shitty weather we traveled to the museum.

The museum itself is a piece of art. Famous architect Viljo Revell designed this villa. It’s surrounded by gorgeous pine trees and it faces the Baltic Sea. I want to come back there in spring or summer, because it’s supposed to be really nice to hang out outside. I bet they have open terrace where you can have a cup of coffee while looking at the sea and thinking about life. Anyway, need to wait for the sun to show up first.

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The paintings were arranged from the merriest to the saddest or so it seemed to me. It started with a huge picture of naked dudes hanging out in the forest. Bright colors and hints of smile on their faces. Then started the part that reminded me Henri de Toulouse Lautrec – both the style (graphic sketches on paper posters) and the scenes (cabaret, mostly). Then the absolute horror began – themes of jealousy, sick kids, loneliness, and death, with the famous “Scream” toping it all.

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I was wondering why Munch was so preoccupied with the scenes of death and suffer. Apparently, it came from his childhood. According to Wikipedia: “The oppressive religious milieu, plus Edvard’s poor health and the vivid ghost stories, helped inspire macabre visions and nightmares in Edvard, who felt death constantly advancing on him. One of Munch’s younger sisters was diagnosed with mental illness at an early age. Of the five siblings, only Andreas married, but he died a few months after the wedding. Munch would later write, “I inherited two of mankind’s most frightful enemies—the heritage of consumption and insanity.” Gee, I didn’t see that coming…

The photos we took turned out to be grey and gloomy. Inspired by Munk and today’s weather. I liked the museum and the Munk’s art, but was even more happier to return to the warm house and watch the Ice Skating Competition’s finals 🙂