Tove Jansson Exhibition

Spring is a strange time in Finland. The trolls hibernate underground over winter, digging themselves nice, warm burrows deep in the rock. They wake up in spring in a panic and tunnel straight up towards the moon, leaving huge holes all over the countryside, often in the middle of roads. Workmen can be seen all over the country busily filling these in.

As we didn’t have to get on the road to Turku until the afternoon, Otto and I took ourselves off to see the new Tove Jansson exhibition at the national art gallery, the Ateneum. It is huge, and contains many different aspects of Jansson’s work. The Moomins take pride of place, of course, but they also had originals of the illustrations she did for The Hobbit and Alice in Wonderland, and lots of other stuff besides.

During WWII Jansson did illustrations for Garm, a Swedish-language satirical magazine. It is named after Garmr, the ferocious hell-hound from Nordic mythology, which is entirely appropriate for something that intends to savage all and sundry. Jansson was clearly a very sharp political cartoonist.

For all the fine paintings and drawings on display, however, my favorite items from the exhibition were the incredibly detailed models that she made of the Moomins and various buildings that featured in the stories. An enormous amount of time and love must have gone into making them.

The exhibition is open until September, so anyone planning to come to Finncon should be able to take it in.

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