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Works by Aleksanteri Ahola-Valo (1900-1997) at the memorial museum of Ilya Repin “Penates”


From the 6th of August, 2015, the memorial museum of Ilya Repin, “Penates”, is hosting an exhibition featuring works by a renowned Finnish artist, architect, thinker and writer Aleksanteri Ahola-Valo. The exhibition commemorates the 115 years anniversary since the artist’s birth and is held with a great support by the Ministry of Education of Finland, the Ministry of Culture of Russia and the Fund of Ahola-Valo “Elpo”.

The artist’s life was closely bound with Russia, Belorussia, Finland and Sweden. Aleksanteri Ahola-Valo was born in Karelia (Impilahti) in 1900. Later, from age 7 untill 16 he used to live in Vyritsa, not too far from the city of Saint-Petersburg. Thus, he spent his youth in Petrograd. In 1912 Aleksanteri Ahola-Valo met Ilya Repin for the first time; he was taken to that meeting by his father, whose portrait the young artist demonstrated to Ilya Repin. That meeting impacted the young artist and encouraged him to continue studying art. In 1919, as the artist happened to be in Vitebsk, he enrolled in the Art School of Y. Pen which he graduated from in 1925. Same year Aleksanteri Ahola-Valo met Sergey Eizenshtein, the most famous Soviet cinema director, and took part in the creation of the movie “Bronenosets Potyomkin” (Battleship Potemkin). Eventually Aleksanteri Ahola-Valo moved to Belorussia, Minsk, and became a teacher at the Minsk Institute of Culture. Being an artist, he kept creating graphic art, book illustrations and sketches for the first Belarusian cartoon animations, while his studio became one of the important centers of the cultural life of Minsk. It was also in Minsk where the artist first worked as an architect. Unfortunately, the project “Pavilion of the history of Human’s Sufferings” was completely demolished during the II World War.

As the artist put it, creating a philosophical system which would allow people to develop and improve their nature, was one of his life calls. He named this system Evohomologia. Having realized his call, the artist added the Valo part to his name; it means light in Finnish language.

In 1930 the artist and the philosopher was invited by Nadezda Krupskaya, who was interested in his pedagogical theory, to Moscow. In Moscow he worked at the Institute of Motherhood and Childhood as a designer of different books on child’s development and special furniture for children.

In 1933 Aleksanteri Ahola-Valo moved to Finland, where he was accused of having affairs with NKVD (The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs) and imprisoned right away. From 1946 he lived in Sweden (where the artist was working on a series of art works featuring the history of Vikings) and in 1986 returned to Finland. The exhibition displays the linocuts by the artist: portraits, landscapes, book illustrations and symbolical designs. These works represent Aleksanteri Ahola-Valo as a typical Nordic artist with strong national-romantic flair. However, some works mirror the historical events of 1920s -1940s. The major theme of these works is anti-militarism.

The artist died in 1997 during a short trip to Sweden. According to his Will his ashes were scattered above the Baltic, a region where Russia, Sweden and Finland meet.

The exhibition is open until the 5th of September, 2015 in the halls of the memorial museum “Penates”.

For further information on the artist visit the website of the “Elpo” fund:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=853ngqFYZ8Q

 

 

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