9.9.2023–28.1.2024 Tue, Thu–Sun 11–18, Wed 11–20
An extensive Rafael Wardi (1928–2021) exhibition at the Didrichsen Art Museum runs from 9 September 2023 to 28 January 2024. The planning of the exhibition began in collaboration with the artist and his daughter. In the spring of 2021, the Didrichsen Art Museum proposed a 95th anniversary exhibition, which was planned to take place in the autumn of 2023. The artist gladly accepted the invitation, continued to work and set aside works he had painted in previous years for the exhibition. In August 2021, Rafael Wardi died at the age of 93, leaving behind a unique legacy and life's work.
At the heart of the exhibition are works from the artist's last years, which have never been shown to the public before. The selection of works underscores Wardi's long-standing artistic significance by presenting alongside new works key pieces from his career: early compositions and cityscapes; still lifes of glowing yellow; colourful portraits of people and spaces – iconic Wardi artworks loved by the art public. The whole creates a picture of an artist who had a long career and worked in his studio until the very end. The works in the exhibition date from 1949 to 2021.
In his last years, Wardi incorporated more metaphorical and hidden images into his works than before. His more recent works include animal and floral motifs as well as narrative themes. The exhibition has a room dedicated to Wardi's work in opera and the performing arts, which began in the 2000s.
"Rafael Ward's paintings both guard their secrets and allow their meanings to unfold. There is wisdom and playfulness in his paintings, as in the artist himself. Wisdom is about preserving playfulness, puzzles and allowing questions to be asked so that the questioner can find out," says visual artist Katja Tukiainen in the exhibition publication.
The exhibition team was formed by the Didrichsen Art Museum and Wardi's daughter Eva Wardi. The works in the exhibition are on loan from museums, foundations and private collections, also from the Didrichsen Art Museum.
During the Rafael Wardi exhibition 9.9.2023–28.1.2024 the museum has extended opening hours:
Tue, Thu–Sun 11–18
After the exhibition the museum is open
Introductions to the exhibition in English on
the first Saturday of each month at 12 noon.
A film by Rax Rinnekangas
THE SOUL OF COLOUR – The Art of Rafael Wardi (2008)
Rafael Wardi is one of the Finnish masters of oil, pastel and watercolour painting of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. In this film, Wardi reflects on his relationship with nature and colour, watercolour and light, and his inspiration, the Italian painter Giorgio Morandi. In the film, 80-year-old Rafael Wardi paints watercolours for the first time in his life with his fingers – instead of brushes – in his studio at the Cable Factory in Helsinki.
Written, directed and shot by Rax Rinnekangas • Edited by Tuuli Kuittinen •
Sound design Heikki Innanen / Soundwise Oy • Field recording Kari Hautanen • Music improvisation Sampo Lassila, double bass; Heikki Nikula, bass clarinet; Jorma Tapio, wind instruments - Music recording Tipi Tuovinen • Online Jari Innanen / Dada Filmi Oy • Production support Didrichsen Art Museum • Producer Rax Rinnekangas • Executive producer Pekka Hako • Bad Taste Ltd 2008