Skip to content


Mikko Kallio, Niina Lehtonen Braun, Ilona Valkonen: Rakkaus löydettyjä esineitä ja kasoja kohtaan, versio 2. 2023
Mikko Kallio, Niina Lehtonen Braun, Ilona Valkonen: Love for Found Objects and Piles, Version 2, 2023

Mikko Kallio, Niina Lehtonen Braun & Ilona Valkonen

Melancholy Diorama and the Wonders of Collage – CELEBRATORS OF THE PILES

18.1. – 28.4.2024

The three artists’ joint exhibition is based on a long-term collaborative exchange of thoughts and inspiration between colleagues. The artists in the group share a passion and love for found objects, heaps, piles and a collage-like artistic expression. Another commonality they share is how they regard cracks, scratches and casting flaws as central to depicting life.

The exhibition illustrates themes of sorrow and everyday life in the zeitgeist, but in a way that simultaneously builds humoristic invisible connections. The overarching theme of the exhibition is collage.

More than a technique, the artists see collage as an artistic way of thinking, an experience and perspective on the world, a method of looking at it.

Pauno Pohjolainen, Fontana, 2023. Photo: Annika Pohjolainen
Pauno Pohjolainen, Fontana, 2023. Photo: Annika Pohjolainen

Pauno Pohjolainen

23.5. – 25.8.2024

In the beginning of his career in the 1980s, artist Pauno Pohjolainen from Kuopio reformed the Finnish art field by for example fragmenting the traditionally rectangular shape of the canvas. Soon afterwards his works grew into three-dimensional colourful wall reliefs, and following that they slid from the walls to the floor and became freestanding sculptures. Kajaani Art Museum acquired works from Pohjolainen for the museum’s collection during his early career, which considerably aided the artist’s work.

The exhibition celebrates Pohjolainen’s 75th birthday by presenting works from primarily the 2020s. It also includes some works from his early career creating a continuum of his art all the way from the 1980s to today.

In recognition for his work, Pohjolainen was awarded the Ars Fennica Prize in 1997 and the Pro Finlandia Medal in 2005.

Niilo Hyttinen, Gloves, 1964, oil on canvas. Photo Pekka Agarth.
Niilo Hyttinen, Gloves, 1964, oil on canvas. Photo Pekka Agarth.

Niilo Hyttinen

12.9 – 24.11.2024

Niilo Hyttinen (1940–2010) is one of the most renowned artists from Kainuu. His nationally significant body of work recorded the transformation of the Finnish way of life and its implications. Hyttinen’s humane point of view makes his works as current as ever. He is remembered for his series on underdeveloped areas, and his depictions of the Finnish man, always approaching his subjects with compassion and humour.

In 2022 Kajaani Art Museum received a donation of 19 works by Niilo Hyttinen from his estate. These works will be on display in the art museum during the fall exhibition. The donated works offer a comprehensive insight into Hyttinen’s work from the beginning of his career in the 1960s all the way to the 2000s.

Leo Karsikas, Buu, 1997, gabro, bronze. Photo: Leo Karsikas.
Leo Karsikas, Buu, 1997, gabro, bronze. Photo: Leo Karsikas.

Leo Karsikas – TRIMMED

12.12.2024 – 9.2.2025

Sculptor Leo Karsikas from Kajaani celebrates his 70th birthday with a retrospective exhibition presenting sculptures from his career spanning four decades. His works offer a glimpse into his life and thinking. His family inspired him to depict the dichotomies of intimate relationships, motherhood and the miracle of small humans. His love of music influenced his early abstract works and later his figurative bronze and steel shapes. In addition to music, the Finnish national epic Kalevala has been a source of inspiration for the artist.

Karsikas aspires to capture the viewer with clean shapes and trimmed-down beauty. He has wanted to do everything himself, to experiment and succeed.

Check out past exhibitions

  • 14.9. – 10.12.2023
    Forests of the North Wind
    Ritva Kovalainen and Sanni Seppo

    Forests of the North Wind is the conclusion to Ritva Kovalainen and Sanni Seppo’s forest trilogy based on research through photographic art, culminating three decades of their work on forest themes.

    The exhibition is a portrayal of our natural forests as life-sustaining diverse spaces. It depicts the rich ecosystems that our northern coniferous forests can be at their best. In natural forests, trees of various ages and species uphold the diversity of nature and thus natural forests are comprised of communities of thousands of organisms like plants, fungi, animals, protists, archaea and bacteria.

    Forests of the North Wind also discusses how forests are becoming endangered and extinct, and it urges us to recognise the difference between a natural and a commercial forest.

    8.6. – 27.8.2023
    My Entire Life
    Kaija-Riitta Iivonen

    In celebration of having turned 80 in November, sculptor and graphic artists Kaija-Riitta Iivonen presents an extensive retrospective exhibition at Kajaani Art Museum in the summer of 2023. My Entire Life features works from all along the artist’s career.

    For Kajaani Art Museum Iivonen is constructing an installation comprised of paintings, sketches and hundreds of miniature sculptures that flows from one space to another, all works forming a part of one big narrative.

    Iivonen’s often benevolently humorous works are born from observation and commentary on her surroundings, everyday human activities and the news. Spirituality is also a central tenet of the artist’s identity.

    19.2. – 14.5.2023
    Anna Alapuro and Ilkka Väätti

    This exhibition recounts the joint artistic journey of Anna Alapuro and Ilkka Väätti. The two artists first met when they were students at Lahti Art School 1976 to 1979. Their art has been inspired by numerous shared and individual trips as well as stays at domestic and foreign artists’ residences over the years.

    In Journey the two portray a vision that unfolds through decades unveiling reflections of society and the art world at different times. Figurative and conceptual paths merge and divide through the decades. Kajaani is an interesting waypoint on the artistic couple’s path. The journey continues.

    I feel like (love)
    Tuija Teiska

    I feel like (love) is an exhibition about emotions the most important of which is love. Emotions that we collect and compartmentalise in our memories. Feelings that make us humans, beings and meaningful to ourselves and others.

    The theme of the exhibition is not romantic love but how as humans we have the need to feel acknowledged and meaningful to other people and our environment. Loved in loneliness, in longing, in remembering and being remembered. The works also examine what self-love is – respecting yourself and feeling connected.

    15.9. –13.11.2022
    White dream
    Photo exhibition on Finnish functionalist architecture
    Jaakko Kilpiäinen

    Jaakko Kilpiäinen has photographed Finnish functionalist architecture since the beginning of the 2000s. His goal is to raise awareness about viewing and appreciating our architectural heritage at large and not just the most famous attractions. Simultaneously his works take a stand against the prevalent short-sightedness regarding our architectural heritage. The exhibition also includes a segment about architect Eino Pitkänen who spent the prime years of his career in Kajaani.

    In spaces – in Räume
    Nicole Ahland, Verena Freyschmidt, Lasse-Marc Riek

    Three German artists working with different techniques create pieces in dialogue with space.

    Space and light are the pivotal elements in photographer Nicole Ahland’s works. She has created a minimalist imagery of her own by researching the interplay of space and light.

    Verena Freyschmidt uses pen, paper and scissors to create large organic installations that transform according to the spaces they are in.

    Sound artist Lasse-Marc Riek has travelled around the world recording both natural and human-created sounds with his microphones and sound systems. For Kajaani Art museum Riek has created a brand new respiration choir inspired by COVID-times consisting of the sound of people from different countries breathing.

    Together in wood
    Kalle Mustonen, Jussi Valtakari and Antti Ylönen

    Three wood-working sculptors come together in a shared exhibition which plays with scale and moves in the realm of myths and legends. Jussi Valtakari and Antti Ylönen construct works where Valtakari’s miniature human figurines combine with Ylönen’s robust shapes that emphasize the materiality of wood. Valtakari’s works criticize society and current issues with gentle humour, creating stories that are played out on a stage set by Ylönen’s pieces.

    Kalle Mustonen also moves on a scale between minimal and monumental in his art. At the Kajaani Art Museum exhibition he presents an 8.5 meter wooden gnome. The sculpture is based on Dutch folklore and lends its shape from garden gnomes.

    Ulla Harju and Teijo Määttänen

    The joint exhibition of ceramic artist Ulla Harju and photographer Teijo Määttänen is centred around a shared concern about climate change.

    “Our environment is in a state of ever-accelerating change, the biodiversity in nature is declining, the climate is warming. Nevertheless fields, bodies of water, bush-filled clearings, the sturdy clouds in the sky still evoke memories of childhood landscapes and the emotions attached to them – for now.” Teijo Määttänen

    “And the trees pray to all the gods: give us back our cell tissue, free us of this humanity.” Ulla Harju

    Echoes in the moonlight

    The fall exhibition from the collections discusses the big questions in life with art works that are laden with powerful symbolism and awaken the senses. Can an image ring out?

    The artists of the exhibition: Eva Cederström, Ina Colliander, Reino Hietanen, Helvi Hyvärinen, Tapio Junno, Pentti Meklin, Olavi Pajulahti, Ulla Rantanen, Arvo Siikamäki, Päivi Sirén, Kain Tapper, Nina Terno, Henry Wuorila-Stenberg

    Marjatta Tapiola: Paintings 2017-2021

    Marjatta Tapiola’s exhibition at Kajaani Art Museum brings together paintings from 2017 to 2021. Included are many of the long-lasting themes of her art, such as the monumental skulls and the mighty bulls arising from Greek mythology. Representing Tapiola’s newest works are the paintings delving into classical scenes from the Bible that also have strong ties to the history of classic art. The versatile exhibition is complemented by animal themes referencing India and a series of rarely seen colour lithographs.

    Everything I have learned, I learned from the bees

    Ritva-Liisa Virtanen’s retrospective installation

    Kajaani-born graphic artist and painter Ritva-Liisa Virtanen’s exhibition examines environmental themes and the diversity of nature through bees. Virtanen is a pioneer in art relating to bees and bees wax, having started to incorporate them in her works already in the 1980s. For Kajaani Art Museum Virtanen is constructing a retrospective installation which will fill the entire exhibition space. The installation is comprised of videos, sounds of beehives and serigraphy textiles designed by Virtanen that are based on her ink paintings and other bee-themed works.