This year marks the centenary of the birth of Tapio Wirkkala (1915–1985). Design Museum is celebrating the event with Wirkkala Revisited, an exhibition reinterpreting and recreating the work of this legendary Finnish designer. Wirkkala’s original drawings and objects are viewed from new perspectives with the artists and designers.
WORKSHOP IN THE EXHIBITION ALL DAYS FROM 11AM TO 1PM: What can you do by hand?
Tapio Wirkkala was an exceptionally versatile designer and artist whose work was of very broad scope. He was not limited by the size, materials or professional boundaries of his projects. For Wirkkala, form was not just an aesthetic aim or intellectual insight. It was the result of a sensitive dialogue of thought, hand, eye and material.
Curator Bora Hong describes the starting points of the exhibition in further detail: A few years ago, I saw Design Museum’s Tapio Wirkkala catalogue. I was extremely fascinated by the pictures of Wirkkala’s hands working on various materials. I wanted to make an exhibition presenting to viewers the work of the designer and the meaning of working with one’s hands in both art and design. She particularly liked the way Wirkkala’s artworks and design objects blended so many different elements, such as wind, sound, scents and daylight. The point of departure for the exhibition is provided by the designer’s hands, shown in black and white photographs of Wirkkala’s hands drawing, carving a graphite mould for a glass piece and chopping wood with an axe that he had designed. The different sections of the exhibition are accordingly named the Hand That Makes, the Hand That Talks and the Hand That Works.
The exhibition features unique and mass-produced original works by Tapio Wirkkala. There are also 3D-printed interpretations of pieces by him that visitors can touch. The exhibits include glass, ceramics and original sketches from the collections of Design Museum. Visitors can also carve wooden birds in a special workshop designed for the exhibition space. Curator Bora Hong hopes exhibition visitors will understand and learn the processes of design in a deeper way through participatory activities.
Just as Wirkkala collaborated with skilled and specialized craftsmen, the visiting curator has worked in close cooperation with the NONAME NOSHOP exhibition architecture office, video artists Sinae Lee, Sojung Jun, Jeamin Cha, Junebum Park and artists like Elina and Ida Nissinen, and an archive researcher Kinga Hamvai in order to create a multi-layered exhibition triggering different ways of seeing and experiencing things.
Photo: Maaria Wirkkala.