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The Pool series of four exhibitions, to be opened at the Aalto2 Museum Centre on 18 May 2024, will bring together Alvar Aalto’s architectural heritage, international skateboarding culture, and rap and hip hop culture.

The three exhibitions themed around skateboarding are linked by the design of the swimming pool at the Villa Mairea, by Alvar Aalto, and its impact on international skateboarding culture. The exhibition showcasing rap and hip hop culture explores the history of Finnish rap and the impact of Central Finland on the development of the entire Finnish hip hop culture.

From the Surf to the Sidewalk – When Skateboarding Culture and Architecture Meet

18 May–15 September 2024
The exhibition From the Surf to the Sidewalk shows how the free-form design of the Villa Mairea swimming pool, by Alvar Aalto, found its way to the United States and how a new phenomenon of urban culture emerged in California. The kidney-shaped pool has, over decades and through meandering paths, become a symbol of pool skateboarding.

The exhibition is a crash course in skateboarding culture. It presents and explores the relationship between skateboarding and architecture from the time when skateboarding first emerged. The exhibition dives into the world of music, magazines, films, skateboard graphics, style, clothing, and skateboarding in the streets and skateparks.

The exhibition also offers audiences interested in architecture and the cityscape the opportunity to view our built environment in a different way.

The exhibition From the Surf to the Sidewalk is curated by Juho Haavisto and produced by the Alvar Aalto Foundation.

Lizzie Armanto: Colors

18 May–15 September 2024

“Skateboarding is so much about personal expression. It allows you to be a part of a community while continuing to be yourself through the style and tricks you choose.” – Lizzie Armanto

The Colors exhibition showcases skateboarding culture through the eyes of the renowned American-Finnish professional skateboarder Lizzie Armanto. As its name suggests, Colors is all about the diversity, tolerance and colourfulness found in skateboarding. The exhibition explores its topic from the points of view of places, tricks, skateboards, and communities.

A skateboarder perceives their surroundings in terms of skateboarding opportunities. This is how the irregularly shaped pools that were inspired by the Alvar Aalto-designed Villa Mairea swimming pool ended up being used as skateboarding venues in California. The exhibition features, Lizzie, a fan of Aalto, showing her favourite places, and discussing her relationship with Aalto.

Although Lizzie is a top athlete who represented Finland at the Olympic Games, competing is not what skateboarding is about, but rather everyone is encouraged to try tricks that are right just for them. Skateboarding is very much about personal expression, and skateboards are an important part of this. The exhibition showcases Lizzie’s journey in the Olympics and some of her favourite skateboards. Skateboarding is a communal activity, and Lizzie Armanto feels particularly close to Finland and the Finnish skateboarding communities.

The other curator of the Colors exhibition is Jarkko Lehtopelto. The exhibition is produced by the Alvar Aalto Foundation.

Concrete Currents – Photographs by Arto Saari

18 May–27 October 2024

“These photographs at the Aalto2 Museum Centre represent my small personal glimpse into a subculture called skateboarding – a subculture that has evolved from backyard pools and city wastelands into an Olympic sport.” – Arto Saari

Arto Saari started skateboarding in the early 1990s in the shade of buildings designed by Alvar Aalto in the centre of the city of Seinäjoki, Finland. After turning sixteen, he moved to Los Angeles, California, to pursue a career as a professional skateboarder. In the early 2000s, Saari became one of the most famous professionals in the sport. Saari was named Skater of the Year by Thrasher magazine in 2001. The title is recognised globally as one of the highest accolades that a skateboarder can achieve.

After leaving professional skateboarding, Arto Saari has focused on photography. His unique ability to capture raw emotion and energy in his photographs has quickly earned him international recognition. Arto’s photographs do not solely focus on skateboarding but also on street culture, music, and the humanity of life. His photographs convey a sense of freedom, rebellion, and beauty found in unexpected places.

The Concrete Currents exhibition is produced by the Museum of Central Finland and curated by Senior Curator Ilja Koivisto.

The Capital – Samples of Jyväskylä Rap

18 May 2024–5 January 2025

Rap music is the most popular music genre worldwide and part of the hip hop culture. Rap and hip hop have taken root in Finland, too, with the city of Jyväskylä dubbed as the capital of Finnish rap already a decade ago. For years, successful artists, producers and influential figures in hip hop culture have emerged from the heart of Central Finland. The Capital sheds light on this story and provides background information about how, from 1990 to 2015, the Jyväskylä hip hop culture rose from the grassroots to become a trailblazer in Finnish rap music. The exhibition also summarises the story of 50 years of hip hop and the background to its explosive rise from the Bronx, New York, to a global movement.

A group of pioneers of Jyväskylä rap have been involved in the planning of The Capital: Ossi Valpio (Soul Valpio), Pyry Jaala (Are) and Joni Vanhanen (Joniveli/WANHA). The soundscape of the exhibition is designed by Joni Vanhanen. The exhibition is produced by the Museum of Central Finland.

Media inquiries:

More information on the exhibition: 
Mari Murtoniemi
Alvar Aalto Museum
+358 40 355 9162

Ilja Koivisto
Museum of Central Finland
+358 50 311 8879