Riitta Kokkonen / March 3, 2012

New Photography Gallery Laboratory opens in Helsinki as part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 year

Photo: Martin Parr

Laboratory is a new gallery located in the creative heart of Helsinki. Curated by photography agency Viewmasters, the gallery will treat visitors to exhibitions and experiences during the Helsinki World Design Capital year 2012. The Laboratory located in the centre of the city has two floors and 220 square meters for photography and video art, as well as for the kinds of events you don’t usually see in galleries.

“At Laboratory, we’re making our dreams come true, bringing art photography and the business world together, in a relationship in which both equally benefit from each other. It’s easy for visitors to join this three-way love affair because Laboratory is unpretentious and easy to visit,” says Heli Mäenpää, creative director of Laboratory.

Laboratory’s constantly evolving exhibition programme features work by both Finnish and international artists. The opening exhibition is the renowned British photographer Martin Parr’s eye-opening Think of Finland (February 10th – April 8th 2012). Parr’s exhibition presents never-before-seen works from the internationally renowned photographer and member of the Magnum Photo agency. In August 2011 Parr travelled between Helsinki in the south and Oulu in the north, capturing images of Finns and the Finnish way of life. The photographs depict Finns without sentimentality but with warmth and terderness.

“I have long been fascinated by Finland, since I was Professor at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki in the early 90’s, so how good to have this chance to return with my camera and create a new body of work,” Parr says. “The Finns are a delightfully quirky people, so I wanted to show this and also the tension between tradition and modernity.”

A “Making Of” film on Martin Parr’s journey across Finland will be screened at the gallery during the exhibition. Laboratory is a work in progress, and as such, it is constantly evolving. To keep updated, visit www.laboratory.fi

The gallery space will also feature a small shop by Helsinki boutique My o My, selling carefully selected design items and books.

Laboratory. Erottajankatu 9 B (courtyard). Open Tue-Sun 11am-6pm.