Museums' new exhibitions bring color to the autumn. Exhibitions by Rafael Wardi, Kaija Aarikka, and Ryoji Ikeda, among others, are on display in Helsinki's museums. Photos: Rauno Träskelin / Didrichsen Art Museum, Jukka Vatanen / Helsinki Kunsthalle, Tuomas Uusheimo / Amos Rex


This fall, the Helsinki metropolitan area transforms into a vibrant hub of cultural activity, offering residents and visitors alike a plethora of artistic experiences, spanning classic and contemporary art, hands-on history, and multifaceted explorations of various artistic mediums.

Significant attention is garnered by expected high-caliber exhibitions featuring works from classic artists such as Rafael Wardi and Kaija Aarikka to masters of impressionism, including Claude Monet and August Renoir. Moreover, top-tier contemporary art finds a home in the city, with displays from Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda at Amos Rex and the Ars Fennica exhibition at Kiasma, offering a rich palette of aesthetic experiences for art aficionados.

Wardi's exhibition at Didrichsen Art Museum, shining a spotlight on his colourful and radiant works, and Kaija Aarikka’s playful and colourful design classics at Helsinki's Taidehalli, celebrating her extensive 60-year career, stand out as two of the most anticipated events this season.

Impressionism lovers will bask in masterpieces showcased at Ateneum, where international front-runners of the movement like Monet, Renoir, and Paul Signac enchant with their innovative uses of color and light. In a different aesthetic spectrum, Ryoji Ikeda mesmerizes with his unparalleled art experience in the subterranean halls of Amos Rex. Simultaneously, Ars Fennica 2023 introduces us to the intriguing world of its five finalists at Kiasma.

However, the offerings extend beyond conventional art spaces, into museums and exhibitions that unravel stories from diverse aspects of history and modern life.

Helsinki City Museum invites fitness enthusiasts to a nostalgic trip back to the 80s and 90s, exploring the evolution of gym culture. Meanwhile, Musiikkimuseo Fame unfolds the enthralling narrative of Finnish rap, scripted by Karri "Paleface" Miettinen, encapsulating its journey from niche genre to mainstream phenomenon over four decades.

Photography exhibits also offer a window into the past and varied expressions of artistic perspectives. For instance, Hakasalmen Huvila displays Volker von Bonin's iconic and seldom-seen photographs of Helsinki from the 1950s–80s, while Adolfo Vera, a Chilean artist and refugee, shares a poignant narrative through his documentation of refugee life in Finland from the 1970s.

Whether it's engaging with the sweaty history of Finnish gyms, diving deep into the 40-year saga of Finnish rap, or experiencing nostalgic views through historic Helsinki photos, the metropolitan area ensures a comprehensive cultural journey this fall.

In a union of tales from Finland’s hip-hop roots, snapshots from its dynamic history, to immersive worlds crafted by legendary artists, Helsinki’s fall scene provides a rich, diverse cultural journey, striking a harmonious chord between past and present, classical and contemporary, ensuring that there's something for every cultural connoisseur this autumn.

This is just a taste of the capital’s autumnal cultural buffet, with many more exhibits and shows unmentioned, but just as deserving of exploration and admiration. In every piece and every exhibition, there's a dialogue between artist and observer, history and future, waiting to be engaged with.