Amos Rex, Helsinki
April 02 – August 21, 2022
Amos Rex’s Subterranean group exhibition explores how artists have depicted the worlds beneath our feet over the centuries, through four different themes. The extensive exhibition features more than 100 works by 62 artists. The works take us into caves and cavities within the earth’s crust, the mythological realms of death and the rabbit holes of literature while the traces of humankind’s exploitation of the earth below us. Subterranean is on display from April 2 to August 21, 2022.
At Subterranean, contemporary and historical works form a diverse, multi-faceted image of underground realities. The exhibition includes paintings, sculptures, photographs, installations and video art. The oldest work is from the seventeenth century, while the newest ones were completed just for this exhibition. The exhibition’s themes encompass fairy tales, religion, science and nature. Subterranean’s four themes are Geology – Caves and Cavities, Mythologies – Descending into the Underworld, Down the Rabbit Hole – The Fictional Depth and Man-made – Exploration and Exploitation.
The exhibition’s curators are Pontus Kyander, who developed the exhibition concept and Anastasia Isakova.“The exhibition explores our complex relationship with the underground world and its role in our lives and imaginations. The themes of the exhibition bring forth different interpretations of the subterranean and how the subject has captured the imagination of artists through the centuries. Artists of the Romantic period were drawn to the sculptural form and majestic presence of volcanoes and caves, while contemporary artists are interested in our impact on the underground itself and the consequences of exploiting it.
In other words, this subject has a very long tradition in art,” says the exhibition’s curator, Anastasia Isakova. The works take us underground into a world that is enigmatic, exciting, attractive, dangerous and mysterious. There is more beneath the earth’s surface besides earth, minerals and roots. There is also the glowing magma of volcanoes, underground aquifers, unexplored caves, rabbit holes, catacombs and Metro tunnels.
During the Subterranean exhibition, visitors may take part in guided tours delving into various themes of the show, and in June Amos Rex offers tours for those visiting with young children in prams. The museum’s art workshop Studio Rex will be converted into a cave, where visitors are invited to consider how the story of the exhibition might continue, or how it began.