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13.07.2020

Kiasma, Helsinki

Kiasma is a contemporary art museum located on Mannerheiminti Street in Helsinki, Finland. Its name kiasma, which means "chiasma" in Finnish, indicates the basic conceptual idea of its architect Steven Holl. Kiasma is part of the National Gallery of Finland and is responsible for the gallery's collection of contemporary art. Its main purpose is to showcase contemporary art and strengthen its status.

The Contemporary Art Collection started as a Museum of Modern Art (Finnish: Nykytaiteen museo) in 1990. In the early stages of its existence, the collection was housed in Ateneum.

In 1992, an architectural and design competition was held for the design of the Museum of Modern Art building. Architects from the Nordic and Baltic countries could participate in the competition and four architects or studios from other countries were invited to participate, although they were obliged to submit their proposals anonymously: Stephen Hall from the USA, Alvaro Siza from Portugal, Coop Himmelbllau from Austria and Kazuo Shinohara from Japan. The results of the competition were announced in 1993 and the winning bid, named Stephen Hall "Chiasma", was selected from 516 applications submitted. The design of the building, named "Chiasma", underwent minor changes during the design process, but was nevertheless found to be controversial; for example, its close proximity to the equestrian statue of Finnish President Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim. Construction work began in 1996 and the museum opened in May 1998.

In 2011-2013, the museum attracted 160,000-180,000 visitors per year.

Kiasma was closed for renovation in September 2014 and reopened in March 2015. In 2016, Kiasma attracted over 310,000 visitors.

The museum's collection includes works by around 8,000 artists, including Retta Ahonen, Martti Aiha, Jan van Andersson Aken, Anders Gustav, Antonio Rotta and Bernard Baron, Stig Baumgartner, Cornelis Bega, Nicholas Berghem, Honoré Domier, Karel Dujärden, Nunzio Gulino, Torger Enkell, Aarne Yamem, Ismo Kayander, Raimo Kanerva and Risto Laakkonen.

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