onsdag 4 april 2012


Contemporary children´s illustration. Yesterday I went to see the exhibition Metka matka by The Association of Finnish Illustrators at Päivälehden museo in Helsinki. It´s a collection of 18 children´s book illustrators, all of them exhibiting three originals from one chosen book. I would have liked to see a bit more variation, one book is just one book and many of the illustrators have worked in different styles with different books. And illustrators develop, it´s interesting to see early work and recent work side by side. For example Salla Savolainen´s most known charachter  is Tove Appelgren´s Vesta-Linnea, but at the exhibition she shows three woodcuts from Sinisen kärpäsen sirkus (the Circus of the blue fly), which are beautiful and made with great care, but at least younger visitors don´t relate to these images in the same way as to a familiar figure. They want Vesta-Linnea.

My own personal favourite at the exhibition is Lena Frölander-Ulf and her black&white illustrations to Mörkerboken/Hämäräkirja (The Dark book or Darkness book or whatever it could translate to). They really are as good in real life as in the book. Some illustrations in the show are combined of many different layers glued on top of eachother, some have spots or lines that are removed before they end up in the book. And some have curled up water color paper. But Frölander-Ulfs work is neat and clean. I suspect she works in a secret laboratory with air tight doors and efficient doughnut detectors.

The exhibition also has a section for children, where they can walk inside the illustrations, see a vacuum cleaner in the roof and, best of all, draw on the walls, on a flower wallpaper.

So, go-go-go! The exhibition is free of charge, but I highly recommend to invest the ten euros the catalogue costs. It has short interviews (in Finnish) with all the illustrators, about their relation to childhood images, about their inspiration, work and relation to the text.

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