The idea of this project is to use the form of a film to make the life’s work of the major Finnish artist, Professor Eero Nelimarkka, more widely known, so as to reveal a new, radical, European and cosmopolitan side to the life and oeuvre of this artist who has been seen as being very Finnish, with peasant-like qualities. The film Eero Nelimarkka – per aspera ad astra is an 18-minute still animation, “grandfather in a nut shell”, and uses extracts from a large body of material, with paintings and documentary material set to jazz music in a way that will also inspire young people to find out more about the European painting heritage of the start of the 20th century. Art and artists actively kept in touch with ideas and cultural trends by travelling, not on the Internet, but in ships and trains, across land and sea. At the beginning of the 20th century, leaving Helsinki for Paris was a considerably more arduous step for a young person who wanted to be a European artist than it is for today’s passionate art students. The film's European context is present its use of an individual case to shed light on how, over a hundred years ago, a remote Finland hidden away in the Baltic was a part of a living Europe. The film’s world premiere was at Helsinki Art Museum, HAM, on 14.9.2017, at the Eero Nelimarkka exhibition, where it will run throughout the exhibition period, 15.9.2017–4.2.2018. The 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage offers a marvellous opportunity for promoting a discussion of European identity and cohesion, and of the pioneering years of shared aesthetic goals more than a hundred years ago. The contribution to visual art made by meanings and ideas radiating out from the European tradition is a part of our culture’s continual transformation, with Post-Impressionism, Expressionism, Fauvism and Cubism all indelibly tattooed into the history and present of the European artworld. This compact, swift-paced short film about Eero Nelimarkka also tells us about this through an individual case.

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