Admission with Museum Card

Dance! Movement in the Visual Arts 1880–2020

Oulu City Art Museum, Oulu

  • 8.10.2022–15.1.2023

The exhibition showcases artworks with dance, dance-like motion and physicality from the late 19th century to the present day found in Finnish museum collections.


Can dance be captured in an artwork? Can bodies in motion be frozen as images?

Dance! invites you to experience a meeting of two art forms: dance and visual art. The works featured convey the spectrum of affect that can be expressed through dance: from passion, bliss and joie de vivre to wistfulness, sorrow and vulnerability. Bodies in motion radiate with life and energy, but they also carry a reminder of our lack of defence to fatigue, illness, and the inexorability of death.

At the heart of the exhibition are collections of Finnish art museums from the 20th century, and how the works in the collections reflect embodiment and motion but also currents in the history of art and culture at large – while at the same time touching on broader social questions. On one hand, dance is associated with the idea of liberating and revolutionary joy, but, on the other hand, with the precise and focused practice of choreographed movement. The exhibition explores how aestheticized movement has been represented in the visual arts as two-dimensional images and three-dimensional forms, and how the moving body has embodied different identities, gender roles and cultural ideals.

Dance and visual art were mutually enriched by creative cross-pollination throughout the 20th century. The breakthrough of modernism at the turn of the 20th century coincided with a period of societal and economic upheaval and radical changes such as urbanization, the emergence of new art forms, scientific progress, and womens emancipation. Modern dance echoed the womens liberation movement, which also found reflection in the visual art of this period.

One of the underlying precepts of 20th century dance was the idea that there is only one "true" dance: the unique, expressive kind. The same expectation of individual self-expression still lives on today in both contemporary art and dance. Both art forms also continue to reflect, spotlight and critique prevailing social constructs of gender, class, race, and national identity.

The exhibition includes works by nearly 60 artists from the late 19th century to the present day, including Auguste Rodin, Louise Bourgeois, Elina Brotherus, Edgar Degas, Niilo Hyttinen, Kaija Kiuru, Heta Kuchka, Leena Luostarinen, Kalervo Palsa, Laila Pullinen, Aurora Reinhard, Tyko Sallinen, Hugo Simberg and Ville Vallgren. The diverse selection of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures, installations, objects and video works will be displayed on both floors in all of the museum's galleries.

The exhibition is based on the original concept of the HAM Helsinki Art Museum, curated by art and cultural historian Hanna-Reetta Schreck and exhibition curator Merimaa. Schreck and chef curator Elina Vieru are responsible for the updated version of the exhibition presented in Oulu and the new selection of works.

In collaboration with: Oulu Art School, JoJo – Oulu Dance Centre and the exhibition's participating dancer-choreographer, visual artist Sonja Jokiniemi.

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Museum contact details

Oulu City Art Museum
Kasarmintie 9, 90015 Oulun kaupunki

044 703 7471

Museum website

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Näytä reitti museolle Matkahuollon reittioppaassa


Katso reitti Matkahuollon reittioppaassa


Oulu City Art Museum, Kasarmintie 9, 90015 Oulun kaupunki


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Admission fees

Admission with Museum Card
Admission with Museum Card


Payment methods

Kteinen, yleisimmt pankki- ja luottokortit, Eazybreak, Edenred, Epassi, Kaikukortti, Smartum

Opening hours

Mon Closed
Tue 09:00-17:00
Wed 09:00-17:00
Thu 09:00-17:00
Fri 11:00-19:00
Sat 10:00-18:00
Sun 10:00-18:00

Closed 6.12.


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