A Look at Amos Rex, Finland’s Edgiest New Art Venue

The space is designed primarily for showcasing experimental and interactive art, as witnessed by the opening exhibition of digital projections by Japanese collective TeamLab.

Domed skylights protruding from the plaza above Amos Rex’s underground exhibition space shed light on the galleries below.

When the time came for Helsinki’s Amos Anderson Art Museum to relocate from its late founder’s century-old neoclassical home and offices, its trustees were able to secure the low-slung Lasipalatsi building, a 1930s icon of Finnish functionalism housing the venerable Bio Rex cinema. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for Finland’s edgiest new art venue.

Renamed Amos Rex, most of the museum is located underground in a vast exhibition space excavated below the adjoining square. In the plaza above, funnel-like skylights resembling the bulging eyes of some gigantic sea creature convey natural light to a futuristic foyer and subterranean galleries, whose undulating ceilings are clad in thousands of sound-dampening steel disks.

While there’s a room set aside for a permanent display of post-impressionist work, the space is designed primarily for showcasing experimental and interactive art, as witnessed by the opening exhibition of digital projections by Japanese collective TeamLab (which runs until January 6). Back in the refurbished Lasipalatsi, meanwhile, the Bio Rex has been returned to its Art Deco glory and now hosts regular screenings of art-house and alternative films.

This article originally appeared in the October/November 2018 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“What Lies Beneath”).

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