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The northern side of the Kiasma building
Kiasma is located in Helsinki (mainland)
The location of the museum in Helsinki
Kiasma is located in Finland
Kiasma (Finland)
Former nameMuseum of Contemporary Art (Finnish: Nykytaiteen museo)
Established1990 (1990) (Museum of Contemporary Art)
1998 (1998) (opening of Kiasma building)
LocationHelsinki, Finland
Coordinates60°10′18″N 24°56′13″E / 60.17167°N 24.93694°E / 60.17167; 24.93694Coordinates: 60°10′18″N 24°56′13″E / 60.17167°N 24.93694°E / 60.17167; 24.93694
TypeArt museum
CollectionsContemporary art
Visitors295,000 (2017)
DirectorLeevi Haapala
OwnerFinnish National Gallery

Kiasma is a contemporary art museum located on Mannerheimintie in Helsinki, Finland. Its name kiasma, Finnish for chiasma, alludes to the basic conceptual idea of its architect, Steven Holl. Kiasma is part of the Finnish National Gallery, and it is responsible for the gallery's contemporary art collection. Its central goal is to showcase contemporary art and to strengthen its status.


Under construction in Autumn 1996
Nearly complete in Autumn 1997, with the now-demolished VR warehouses on the northern side

The contemporary art collection began as the Museum of Contemporary Art (Finnish: Nykytaiteen museo) in 1990. In its earliest stages, the collection was housed in Ateneum.

An architectural design competition to design a building for the contemporary arts museum was held in 1992. The competition was open to architects from the Nordic and Baltic countries, in addition to which four architects or studios from elsewhere were invited to participate, though they were obliged to submit their proposals anonymously: Steven Holl from the US, Alvaro Siza from Portugal, Coop Himmelblau from Austria, and Kazuo Shinohara from Japan.[1] The competition results were announced in 1993, and the winning proposal, titled Chiasma by Steven Holl, was selected from the 516 submitted entries. The design of the building, Finnishized as "Kiasma", underwent slight modification during the design process, but nevertheless was regarded as controversial; for instance its close proximity to the equestrian statue of Finnish President Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim.[2] Construction work began in 1996, and the museum opened in May 1998.[3]

The museum attracted 160,000–180,000 visitors per year in 2011–2013.[4]

Kiasma was closed for repairs in September 2014 and reopened in March 2015.[3][5] In 2016, Kiasma attracted over 310,000 visitors.[6]

The collection[edit]

The collections include works by around 8,000 artists,[7] including Ahonen, Reetta, Aiha, Martti, Aken, Jan van Andersson, Anders Gustaf, Antonio Rotta, Baron, Bernard, Baumgartner, Stig, Cornelis Bega, Nicolas Berchem, Honoré Daumier, Karel Dujardin, Nunzio Gulino, Torger Enckell, Aarne Jämsä, Ismo Kajander, Raimo Kanerva, and Risto Laakkonen.


View from the north of the Kansalaistori Square [fi], with Kiasma on the right, to the left Helsinki Central Library Oodi and Sanoma House [fi]
View from the south, with Helsinki Central Railway Station visible on the right edge

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Open Nordic/Baltic Design Competition for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki. Architectural Competitions in Finland, 5/1993.
  2. ^ G. Griffiths, "Steven Holl and His Critics", Ptah, 1/2006.
  3. ^ a b "The story of Kiasma". Kiasma. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  4. ^ Annual Report 2013 (PDF). Finnish National Gallery. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 May 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Kiasma Archive: 2015". Kiasma. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Annual Reports • Finnish National Gallery". Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  7. ^ "Kiasma - Kiasma Collections". Retrieved 2018-06-14.

Further reading[edit]

  • Nancy Marmer, "Holl's Kiasma Debuts in Helsinki," Art in America, October 1998, p. 35.

External links[edit]