Kemi Art Museum


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Welcome to the wonderful world of posters!

Do you find Finland grey, quiet and reserved?

Forget it.

Finland has long been a glamourous, cosmopolitan and open country!

Exactly, you are about to be presented with how Finland with the help of travel posters attracted travellers from both near and far to this country in the north. With a fresh confidence and in many different languages we yelled: Come to Finland!

Travel posters were the internet of the time. That was how you got the message across. The posters were found in the windows of travel agencies in Finland, Stockholm, Berlin, London, Paris, New York…

And it was the picture which was intended to attract, the picture that would spark that interest in adventurous Europeans and Americans.

And who created the pictures? Anyone from well-known artists to anonymous marketing graphics. Therefore this exhibition is one big ode to the artists. And to all travel companies like for example the Finland Steamship Company, Aero (Finnair), the Finnish State Railways and to organisations like the Finnish Tourist Association and Suomen-matkat. They all believed in what they did and ordered new works of art every year.

While we today talk incessantly about the image of Finland, it wasn’t always like that. One did something about it. The artist created the picture of this paradise where style, glamour and tasty food met.

We want to be frank: We love these posters. They are ads, sure, but they are also so much more than that. They are art, they are history, they are a true Finnish cultural heritage.

We have searched for them all over the world, turning every stone. Bought from collectors, begged for them from museum directors, rifled through people’s attics.

In this exhibition you’ll find, with a few exceptions, only original prints of the posters.

We have also turned every stone in order to find the stories behind the works of art and the artists. Even more background can be found in our book “Come to Finland. Posters & Travel Tales 1851–1965”.

The exhibition is literally about how we attracted people to Finland. That’s why the slogans and the posters often are in, for example, English, Swedish, German, French or Russian.

To create a bridge to our modern time we also present contemporary travel posters – with a special emphasis on Finnish Lapland. Now Finland is once again attracting tourists with glamour and cries of joy from the paradise.

I wish you many eureka moments and smiles in the company of these cultural treasures!

MAGNUS LONDEN

Poster hunter