The Polaroid Exhibition includes Polaroids by big international names ranging froms Ansel Adams to Andy Warhol, plus a selection of Finnish Polaroid images. Instantaneous mood pictures from a legendary collection: self-portraits, still lifes, conceptual art and collages. Common features are playful snapshot-taking and the thrill of colour.
The Polaroid company regularly gave artists cameras and film, and from their responses it built up a huge, nostalgic collection of photographs. Vienna’s WestLicht Museum acquired the European section in 2010, some of which can now be seen by the Finnish public. Polaroid’s successor, The Impossible Project, is also represented.
Chief Curator Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger and Museum Director Elina Heikka from The Finnish Museum of Photography and Chief Curator Rebekka Reuter from WestLicht Museum in Vienna made a selection of The WestLicht collection which contains 4400 works by 800 artists from 1970–90. The Finnish component has been compiled by critic Otso Kantokorpi and photographic artist Martti Jämsä.
The exhibition, which will go on until December, promises lively activities and fun. In the exhibition’s Studio Corner you can take pictures or get yourself photographed. In workshops run in collaboration with schools a joint, large-scale collage of Polaroids will be created for the rest of the public to see, and in the various workshops Polaroid cameras will be available for use by members of the public of all ages.
Polaroid is currently undergoing a Renaissance as a retro photographic technique. Its characteristic aesthetic and immediacy still cast their spell, as is demonstrated by smartphone camera apps that imitate the Polaroid image.