Gallen-Kallela Museum


 Admission with Museum Card

Tattooed Artworks

Well-known works of art have turned into tattoos in the Gallen-Kallela Museum’s exhibition of photographs.

Over a period of around two years, media artist Harri Larjosto and the Gallen-Kallela Museum searched for people with tattoos based on works of art. The numbers of classic artworks living on human skin exceeded all expectations. Larjosto went on to photograph and interview one hundred people.
‘People have surprisingly serious reasons for bearing a picture, art on their skin, throughout their lives,’ says Larjosto. People reveal their own moving, fascinating and amusing stories through this highly intimate exhibition and its book.

Artworks living on the skin provide a new perspective on the meaning of art in the present age. Since the 1990s, tattoos have become increasingly popular, resulting in an outright boom as part of mainstream personal decoration. Many people with tattoos of artworks, however, seek to make a distinction from the mass. Images of art are felt to have a deeper meaning and value, being attached to history and culture. At the same time, tattooed works of art are transferred from museums and the pages of books to completely new settings and to be part of people’s lives.

Among the tattooed works, the most popular artist proved to be Akseli Gallen-Kallela with The Defence of the Sampo (1896) and other subjects from the Kalevala epic. For many people, the tattooing of classics of Finnish art was associated not only with the idea of their own roots but with an appropriation of national symbols: the shared cultural heritage must not wind up solely the property of nationalists.

Other artists whose works were reproduced on skin include Hugo Simberg, the von Wright brothers, Alphonse Mucha, Edvard Munch, Salvador Dalí and Leonardo da Vinci.

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Museum contact details

Gallen-Kallela Museum
Gallen-Kallelan tie 27, 02600 Espoo

(09) 849 2340

Museum website

Admission fees

Admission with Museum Card
Admission with Museum Card

9/7/5/0 €

Payment methods

käteinen, pankkikortti, visa, mastercard, smartum, virike

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Opening hours

Mon Closed
Tue 11:00-16:00
Wed 11:00-16:00
Thu 11:00-16:00
Fri 11:00-16:00
Sat 11:00-16:00
Sun 11:00-17:00

closed 24.12., 25.12., 31.12., 22.6. ja 3.9.-14.9.2018

Näyttelyn tekstit kielillä


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