Ode to Mänttä and its art
As a photographer, I always enjoy fine arts, too. My visit to the small town of Mänttä in Central Finland gave me great pleasure. The origin of the town itself goes back to the year 1868, when the industrialist G. A. Serlachius founded a saw mill on the banks of the Mäntänkoski rapids. Mänttä soon became one of the leading Finnish forest industry locations with extensive exports and international markets. Today, production is focused on tissue paper products.
Mänttä-Vilppula with less than 11,000 inhabitants has experienced a new and uplifting era with its art profile. The members of the Serlachius family were always interested in fine arts, and both G. A. Serlachius and his nephew Gösta were keen art lovers and generous patrons. The Serlachius art collection was first opened to the public in 1945 when a museum was opened at the first floor of Joenniemi manor, former private residence of Gösta Serlachius. Since 1984 the entire building has served as an art museum. There were also two other Serlachius museums opened: the fine arts museum of Honkahovi and the Gustaf museum, which concentrates on the industrial history of Mänttä. At present, Honkahovi and the historical Mänttä Club are owned by the Kauko Sorjonen Foundation. Modern art is exhibited during the summer in an old factory building called Pekilo.
On my trip I visited the Gösta museum and Honkahovi. I also attended a concert in the beautiful church, where the Polish musician Slawomir Zubrzycki played an instrument called viola organista. It was originally planned by Leonardo da Vinci himself!
Art Hotel Honkahovi is situated in a lovely park with large pine trees and statues, and there is a lake view through the large windows of the building. It was originally built in 1938 as the private residence of R. Erik Serlachius. There are also a few very stylish hotel rooms at Honkahovi. Yearly there are at least three small-scale art exhibitions and ten concerts.
The Gösta museum is breath taking, to say the least. The impressive Joenniemi manor, built in 1935, shows classic fine arts with paintings and sculptures from the most famous Finnish artists of the Golden Age as well as many old European masters. There is also a park showing a large number of sculptures. This summer a quite new pavilion was opened alongside the manor, and although it represents a totally different, very modern architecture, it fits perfectly into the landscape. The new pavilion is not a small one: it is 135 meters long and comprises 5,700 square meters. It is designed by Spanish architects. Actually amazing how Spanish designers have been able to create a building which so completely fits into the sensitive Finnish landscape. In the pavilion there was an interesting exhibition of contemporary art. It was called Super Pop, and showed among others some works of Andy Warhol. I must say I was impressed, and found many interesting angles as a photographer.
I completed my trip with dinner at the Mänttä Club, which used to belong to the Serlachius company. It was built in 1920 and used for festivities and accommodating guests. Nowadays it is a restaurant and hotel. I enjoyed a splendid meal and returned home with many new photos. I can recommend Mänttä for all art enthusiasts. It is really worth a visit!