The long-awaited "Nyrok City – For Your Eyes Only" exhibition is set to showcase the remarkable original comic drawings by Mauri Kunnas, shedding light on the history of Finnish rock and pop culture. Although widely recognized as an accomplished children's author, Kunnas embarked on his career with a focus on political cartoons and comics. Among his most renowned works is the Nyrok City comic series, created between 1975 and 1986.
This series playfully lampooned Finnish and international musicians, offering commentary on music and cultural phenomena both domestic and foreign.
Displayed on the 2nd floor Lounge of the WeeGee Exhibition Centre, the "Nyrok City – For Your Eyes Only" exhibition will run from October 10 to November 12, 2023. This unique showcase marks the first time that viewers will have the opportunity to closely examine Kunnas's intricate comic drawings. Curated by journalist and comics expert Harri Römpötti, alongside Mauri Kunnas, the exhibition will feature original drawings from 12 comic stories spanning various years.
Römpötti elaborates on the selection process: "Many of the Nyrok City comics we've chosen for the exhibition were originally published in Suosikki magazine. The collection reflects Mauri Kunnas's mischievous affection for rock and pop culture." In addition to the original comics, the exhibition will present Kunnas's sketches of Remu Aaltonen's comic book character, accompanied by other background materials.
The exhibition will come to life through videos that revisit the Nyrok City era, as recounted by individuals like Michael Monroe, Juha Torvinen, and Remu Aaltonen—each a recurring figure in the comic series, with Aaltonen making particularly frequent appearances. Mauri Kunnas reminisces about the origins of Nyrok City: "I created my first Hurriganes drawing for a school assignment. It turned out well, and I submitted it to Suosikki, where it got published. That got me excited, around 1974 or 1975."
Over the years, Kunnas crafted over 100 comic stories—initially for magazines like Intro and Help!, and later for the iconic youth publication Suosikki, where Nyrok City delighted readers for seven years.
This exhibition commemorates the one-year anniversary of the Mauri Kunnas exhibition permanently displayed at the WeeGee Exhibition Centre. Geared towards adults, the Nyrok City exhibition offers a nostalgic trip down memory lane for those who grew up with Kunnas's comics. It also introduces younger generations to the music and culture of the 1970s and 1980s. With its tongue-in-cheek approach, Nyrok City elicited laughter, and this exhibition is sure to evoke fond memories for those who followed the comic during the vibrant decades of the '70s and '80s.
Curated by Harri Römpötti and Mauri Kunnas, the "Nyrok City – For Your Eyes Only" exhibition is a collaboration between the City of Espoo and the Kuudes design agency.