Finnish art, architecture, design and photography fills Pitzhanger Manor this summer as part of an exhibition of pioneering design by Alvar Aalto and breathtaking architectural photography by Ola Kolehmainen
This summer, the art, architecture and design of Finland will be celebrated in London. ‘Reason & Intuition – Alvar Aalto and Ola Kolehmainen in Soane’ is a new exhibition bringing together the finest works of an acknowledged great of international modernist architecture and design and three collections of images by an acclaimed Finnish photographer.
Reason & Intuition runs from 4 July-24 August 2014 at PM Gallery & House. Sitting in WalpolePark, central Ealing, the gallery is the extension to one of Sir John Soane’s great architectural treasures, Pitzhanger Manor, the ‘dream house’ designed by Soane as a place to entertain his friends and display his collection of art and antiquities.
The exhibition is a collaboration between PM Gallery & House, the AlvarAaltoMuseum and the Finnish Institute in London. Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) was a central figure in international modernism. His sculptural, and highly functional, furniture produced in the 1930s remains influential and very popular.
Reason & Intuition will feature around forty Aalto creations, including chairs, tables, lights, glassware and textiles, as well as rarer pieces, such as a collection of original designs and plans for some of Aalto’s 500 buildings and glassware designed by his first wife and collaborator, Aino. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to sit at an Aalto table, on Aalto chairs and pore over his original designs, photographs and plans for private houses, such as the extraordinary Villa Mairea, which was designed to emulate a Finnish forest.
As Aalto’s work fills Pitzhanger, three distinct collections of Ola Kolehmainen (1964-) photography will take over PM Gallery: his acclaimed, abstract, Aalto-influenced architectural images (featuring some Aalto buildings), as well as new work exploring the Siena Cathedral in Italy (a building highly regarded by Aalto) and the most significant mosques in Istanbul.
Kolehmainen’s photographs depict sections of buildings, examining the strictly ordered rows of repetitive patterns and elements of symmetry. Reflections are significant in Kolehmainen’s work and a way of bringing the warmth of the natural world into man-made structures; trees, clouds and people are all reflected on the surfaces of buildings, in swimming pools and inside the Siena Cathedral.
The works are produced using the Diasec process, which means that the environment is reflected in the surface of the photos as well as in the images themselves – a calculated component of his work. The complex new images are theatrical and epic in scale, with a nod to architectural history and even classical painting.
PM Gallery & House, WalpolePark, Mattock Lane, EalingW5 5EQ
Admission is free to all visitors