Read the analysis written by curator Katariina Timonen here (scroll file for English)

The exhibition by Tampere-based illustrator Jani Ikonen (b. 1978) is based on the children’s poetry book Kaupunki Kukaties (WSOY 2021), made in collaboration with Pia Krutsin. The book was nominated for the Finlandia Prize in Children’s and Youth Literature 2021. Instead of a traditional presentation of a finished book, the exhibition showcases the illustrator’s multifaceted way of working that emphasizes curiosity. The poems in the book are set in an imaginary city. The city is a stage where different realities, spaces and situations intersect endlessly. In his attempt to depict this unified world, Ikonen originally created the illustration as one long, continuous image. Because of the structure of the book and its pages, the image was divided into separate double-page spreads for the printed book. In the exhibition at Galleria Kuvitus, the illustration can be seen as it was originally intended: as one large, continuous image. 

Ikonen examined the nature of books already in his master’s thesis at the Aalto University in 2012. Before books had pages, writing was mostly presented in the form of scrolls. Today, e-books and audio books expand our understanding of what a “book” means. Ikonen asks an interesting question: when we look at a book, what are we actually looking at?

In terms of content, Jani Ikonen’s illustrations contribute to our present-day discussion on diversity and multivocality without being too heavy-handed about it. In the exhibition, the voices of all inhabitants of the city, from bugs to grandmothers and the homeless, overlap and become intertwined equally. Ikonen hopes that the illustration being exhibited will encourage viewers to examine the reality around them with an open mind. 


Jani Ikonen shares his thoughts about the new exhibition. Episode #17. Duration 24 min. Language: Finnish. 


Navigate through the exhibition in our virtual gallery.


Photography: Ilkka Vuorinen

Upcoming exhibitions


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