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09.08.2020

Waino Aaltonen Museum of Art, Turku

Aaltonen Museum Väinö (WAM) is an art museum in Turku focusing on contemporary art. Since 2009, WAM is the administrative part of the Turku Museum Center . The exhibition is based on the Turku Art Collection, which includes, among other things, the works of Väinje Aaltonen, which have been transferred to a significant collection. In changing exhibitions, the museum exhibits both international and domestic contemporary art. 

The Aura River on the eastern bank of District III in the heart of the museum's modernist building was designed by architect Aaltonen with his son Matti Aaltonen and his wife, architect Irma Aaltonen. The museum was opened in 1967. Three sculptures from Väina Aaltonen's "Work and Future" series stand on the terrace of the museum building as a reception for guests. Over time, these works have become the external symbols of the museum. The freestanding figures in front of the light travertine-covered building seem different in nature from the bronze sculptures installed in the Parliament House, which have become known through the media.

At the end of the museum terrace on the harbour side is the Cafe Wäinö. The museum building also hosts exhibitions at the PERI Center for Photography. Ecoluoto is located on the site next to the museum, where the museum centre organizes project artworks primarily devoted to urban environmental themes. In addition to the changing exhibitions, the Väinje Aaltonen Museum's field of activity includes a variety of museum teaching and concert activities.

The Turku Museum Centre manages a collection of around ten thousand works of art related to art. The fine arts collections pay special attention to the art of Väina Aaltonen, domestic and international sculpture and Turku art. The Turku Museum Centre also houses an extensive collection of about 1.5 million photographs, including the oldest in Finland.

In recent years, the Väinö Aaltonen Museum has displayed, among other things, an exhibition dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Finnish Sculptors' Union, an exhibition dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Arte ry association of artists, and an exhibition dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the camera of the Turku Academy of Arts. The art collection of the city was presented in the exhibition "Death and its many faces" in 2010, the exhibition "Water - emotions and feelings" in 2011 and the exhibition "One holiday! Celebrations and Festive Culture in Finnish Fine Arts" in 2012. 2011 "Fashion Issues" The exhibition presented items from cultural and historical collections in parallel with works from the art collection.

The number of visitors who came to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Väinje Aaltonen Museum reached a record number: 92,000 people visited the museum in 2017. The exhibition program of the anniversary year included the exhibition of Jacob Hashimoto from the United States "Gas Giants and Uncertain Atmospheres". as well as the large-scale exhibition "Väinö Aaltonen" and "Century of Independence".

In June 2009, the Väinje Aaltonen Museum opened the exhibition "The Circle is a Point of Character: Russian Avant-garde from Private Collections". According to the organizer of the exhibition, it presented the aspirations and trends of the Russian avant-garde. Among the representatives were Kazimir Malevich and his school, Vladimir Tatlin and his school, Alexander Rodtsenko and Varvara Stapanova, Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Goncharova, and Alexander Exter. There were also works, the authors of which are unknown. In total, about one hundred works borrowed from private collections were presented. 

Art historian Otso Kantocorpi harshly criticized the organization of the exhibition. He suspected that some works were fakes and suggested that the exhibition should be dismantled. On July 30, 2009, when other experts publicly questioned the authenticity of the works in the exhibition, the museum announced that it would close the exhibition "in connection with further research into the authorship of the works".  It was also decided not to hold this exhibition at the Hämeenlinna Art Museum in the autumn of 2009 "due to doubts about the authorship of the works".

The fake works are similar to those investigated by the police in a smuggling case as early as 1996 and 1997. Certification of the works as fake was confirmed in September 2010.

Later on, the story expanded to include several branches. The police suspected that more than 20 people were selling counterfeit art objects, and the biggest art forgery cases in Finnish criminal history reached Russia, France, Estonia and Sweden, among others. Organized crime is demonstrated by the fact that two members of the criminal organization MORE were convicted in August 2015 by the Turku Court of Appeal.

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