Students in field

Work of Dora Jung coming to Finlandia University Gallery

July 23, 2017

Dora Jung: Painter in Linen

  • Finnish Designer (1906-1980)
  • Weavings from the collection of Tuomas Sopanen
  • Exhibit Dates: July 27 – September 14, 2017
  • Please join us for a closing reception: Thursday, September 14, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Guest Lecture by Tuomas Sopanen beginning at 7:15 p.m.

Dora JungFinlandia University Gallery in collaboration with Common Strands International Fiber Exchange, Minneapolis, Minnesota will present Painter in Linen featuring the work of one of the most consequential textile designers in Finland, Dora Jung (1906-1980). This exhibit is traveling to the United States in honor of Finland 100, a celebration of Finland’s 100 years of independence.

The exhibit will showcase Tuomas Sopanen’s collection of over 60 Jung textiles. The exhibit will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, from July 27 to September 14, 2017.

A closing reception for the public will take place at the gallery on Thursday, September 14th, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. with a guest lecture by Tuomas Sopanen beginning at 7:15 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Common Strands, a non-profit organization that promotes the cultural exchange of traditional and contemporary fiber art will host the exhibit once it leaves Hancock. Painter in Linen will be exhibited at STUDIO ELLA 364, Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson St. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413, where it will be displayed September 21st -24th with an opening reception on Thursday, September 21st, from 6:30 till 8:30 p.m. Guest Lecture by Tuomas Sopanen starting at 7 p.m.

A world-renowned artist and designer, Jung left a lasting influence on Finnish design. With a 50-year career as a textile artist, craftsperson, and industrial designer, Jung is remembered as a bold reformer and pioneer in arts and crafts.

“She was a modern woman, living alone, whose career started at the same time as the Finnish textile art became professional,” says Päivi Fernström, Ph.D. “At that time weaving was in the center of textile art and the textiles were the pride of the Finnish design.”

Jung consistently searched for new and innovative ways to express her ideas and emotions through textiles, including working closely with the weavers to stretch traditional materials and weaving techniques to achieve her vision. Her designs were noted for their unique sense of aesthetics, strong lines, shapes, and colors, as well as their symbolism.

“Jung was a person of her time: her pictures were built strongly on a strongly visual ideology,” notes Fernström. “This was connected to a mythical power coming from the material and the work of the hands. Jung did not want to give any artistic responsibility to the loom.”

Jung is especially known for her church textiles, having designed over 600 church textiles. Jung grew up in a family of designers, notably her father and uncles were architects. These family connections led to a family collaboration on the church in Kulosaari from 1935. The church was designed by her uncle, her cousin Gunilla Jung designed the silver baptismal font and other items, and Dora Jung designed the chasuble (the priest’s garment).

Jung’s design excellence was recognized during her lifetime with important awards both in Finland and internationally. Her innovations in design and new look in the damasks resulted in international attention at the Milan triennials in the 1950´s. At all the three triennials, in 1951, 1954 and 1957, she was awarded by the highest price, The Grand Prix. Dora Jung was also rewarded by the Swedish Prince Eugen- medal in 1955, the Danish Cotil prize in 1963, the design prize of Finland in 1970 and the first Nordic prize for design in 1972. These awards led to great interest and demand for her work and she had many productive years late in her career.

This exhibit has been made possible by the generosity of Tuomas Sopanen who has loaned his extensive collection to be exhibited in the United States. As a schoolboy Sopanen was interested in arts, especially in design. He was first introduced to the work of Dora Jung on a school trip to Turku in 1962. There he saw a large textile  “Katarina Jagellonica” by Dora Jung and was immediately drawn to it. He began collecting the work of Dora Jung in the 1980´s when works of the weavery were sold after the death of the artist. The real collecting started, however, in the 1990´s.  He now has the largest Dora Jung collection in Finland comprising 42 textiles made at the weavery of the artist. Only later did Tuomas Sopanen start to collect the industrially fabricated table textiles designed by Dora Jung for the company Tampella and the collection includes nearly all the industrial models.

“The most attracting features in the textiles of Dora Jung are the beautiful colors and the interesting line in her works, like Lion and cross or Duck,” notes Sopanen. “They breathe incredible calmness and equilibrium, every small detail is right.”

Tuomas Sopanen was born in 1945 in the middle of the Finnish countryside. He studied biology, specializing in the biochemistry of plants. He worked as a researcher at the Academy of Finland and then as Professor of Botany at the University of Joensuu. Now he is retired. In addition to textiles of Dora Jung, he has a collection of 498 Finnish ryijy textiles. He has also been collecting Finnish modern ceramics, glass and graphic art.

Dora Jung: Painter in Linen will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery through September 14, 2017. After the exhibit at Finlandia, Painter in Linen will travel to Duluth, Minnesota for a pop-up exhibit and then to Minneapolis, Minnesota where it will be displayed by Common Strands.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information, call 906-487-7500.

Photo captions:

  • Photo 1: The artist Dora Jung
  • Photo 2: Weaving by Dora Jung
  • Photo 3: Weaving by Dora Jung
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