The Subterranean exhibition features works of art that depict the underground world in various ways. The exhibition features a wide range of old historical works, fairy tale illustrations and contemporary art, including paintings, sculptures, installations and video art. There are a total of 101 works by 62 artists.
The exhibition is divided into four different themes, each presenting the underground world in art in slightly different ways: geology, mythologies, fairy tales, and the human imprint.
Some of the works deal with major subjects such as death, hell, and humanity’s unjust actions. It may be a good idea to prepare in advance to consider or discuss these topics, especially if you are visiting with a child. Some of the works have a mood that may be scary or raise questions.
You must not touch or climb on works of art unless specifically encouraged to do so by a sign or staff member. In that case, it is up to you whether you touch or experiment with the work. You can read more about the works in the exhibition brochure. You can get it for free on site or as a download here: Downloadable exhibition brochure
Visitors with sensory processing sensitivity can borrow hearing protectors from the museum’s cloakroom, just ask the staff. The exact durations of the videos in the exhibition are listed in the exhibition brochure and signs on the wall nearby.
There are discussion guides in the exhibition rooms to help you with anything. You can identify them by their light purple jackets.
Soundscape in Subterranean:
Some artworks in Subterranean have sounds and the sounds carry far in the exhibition space. In some parts, the sounds overlap with each other, but the overall volume is not loud.
Accessibility in the exhibition:
The smaller rooms in Subterranean’s exhibition space are narrow and do not have enough room to move freely with for example an electric wheel chair or a mobility scooter. Their entrances are wide enough but people using an electric wheelchair do not have enough space to turn in the small rooms. Otherwise the exhibition space is accessible.
The exhibition’s four themes
The exhibition is divided into four different themes, each with a different approach to the subject of the exhibition, the underground world. On this page, we’ll talk about these four themes, as well as a few unique works that you might want to keep in mind. There are many works of art in the exhibition, and we only provide details about a few of them here. We hope this information helps you plan your visit to the museum.
The works are presented in the order in which you will encounter them in the exhibition.
1. Theme: Geology: Caves and cavities
In this section of the exhibition, you can see works of art that approach the subterranean world from the standpoint of probing the ground. Geology is the science of studying the earth and its crust, including caves. In this part of the exhibition, there are works depicting caves, mountains, volcanoes and various landscapes. In this part of the exhibition, there are works depicting caves, mountains, volcanoes and various kinds of landscapes.
Content warning: There is one work in this section that has a strong odour. The scent comes from the spice turmeric, which is used in the work. The work is placed near the entrance to the exhibition. If you are sensitive to odours, go quickly past it into the rest of the exhibition.
quarks neu-pro spice paff
1999 / 2022
Warning: The work has a strong scent.
This work of art is an installation. It is made of fabrics stretched between the ceiling and the floor. Inside the sculpture, there is a large amount of turmeric, which has a powerful odour and dyes the fabric orange.
2. Theme: Mythologies
This section of the exhibition includes works that feature characters from ancient legends and beliefs. Some of the works also present the artists’ views of hell. Mythology refers to a set of stories made up of myths. Through these tales, people have tried to explain how and why everything exists. Gods often appear in these stories.
Content warning: This theme includes works that deal with death and suffering.
2018 / 2022
This work is built in a room of its own. The floor is covered with a mirror. You may not enter the room, just to look at the work from the doorway. The doorway is three meters wide, so a wheelchair fits easily.
Preconditioned Expectations // Abstract Landscape
The work consists of two parts: a video displayed under a cloth and a video showing on a screen on a wall. The video on the wall shows a recording of the performance, i.e. the performance. The video on the wall shows a recording of a performance. The performance that has taken place is part of the work of art, although the performance can no longer be experienced except as a video recording. The video on the floor is somewhat hidden under the fabric. Please look at the work from a distance, as you cannot go under the cloth.
This sculpture consists of walls and steps. The work can be rotated and viewed from different directions. Do not climb or sit on the stairs. On the other side of the staircase, behind them, is a hatch to look inside. You can use a flashlight that is placed nearby to see better.
3. Theme: Down the Rabbit Hole
This section of the exhibition includes pictures from old fairy tales that take place in imaginary underground worlds.
Warning: One of the works is not accessible.
A House Divided
2015 / 2018
This work is not accessible. It is an audio work that is experienced while sitting in an armchair. When you sit in the chair, the sound starts automatically. The sound is in English, and there are written translations into Finnish and Swedish.
4. Theme: Man Made – Exploration and Exploitation
The works in the last section of the exhibition show how humans exploit materials from the earth as well as their behaviour toward other people.
Content warnings: This part of the show includes works depicting violence and death, as well as dealing with climate catastrophe, the Holocaust and colonialism. There are barrier-free works of art in this section. Some of the works are not accessible.
Pascale Marthine Tayou
This work is a large installation, that is, a set of objects and things. The work consists of black trees with glittering diamonds hanging from them. Under the trees, there is black, undulating terrain. There are also steps under the trees, but you may not climb on them. You must not enter the work. The work deals with the production and sale of diamonds.
Historic Photographs: To Crawl Into–Anschluss, Vienna, March 1938,
This work is not accessible.
Warning: This content may be disturbing! The work deals with antisemitism, that is, hatred and prejudice against Jews. This work is not recommended for the most sensitive.
The work is experienced by going under the cloth. The fabric may be lifted and peeked under, or you can crawl under it to see the photo that is there. You can ask the staff for help in viewing the work.
The photo is a historical image depicting the German persecution of Jews. The picture shows the Nazis forcing Jewish people to wash the street on their hands and knees in a way that violates human dignity.
Warning: This work deals with domestic and sexual violence.
The work consists of five large wooden cubes. The space between them is narrow, so it is not accessible to everyone. Openings have been drilled in the walls of the cubes to allow you to peek inside different rooms.
The artwork addresses physical and psychological violence towards children (children do not appear in the artwork) and the work depicts a home where people live in fear of violence. Through the peepholes you can see sexual references and blood-like paint. This work is not recommended for the most sensitive.
You can walk pass the artwork without seeing any of the content.
Works under the sea in Marseille
Warning: You can see human bones in this picture.
The artist Nadar took photographs of the catacombs, or tombs, beneath Paris. The photos show the bones of dead people.
YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES
Warning: This work has loud sound and flashing images.
The work is a video projected on three big screens. The video has a loud soundtrack of jazz music. The video features alternating text in English, Finnish and Swedish.
Place Must Exist Before Departure
This work is a computer game that you can play. It consists of a screen with a keyboard in front of it. The show has three screens around the same table, so three people can play at the same time. You can find instructions for playing in the game itself and on the table. The game is in English only, and you play it by writing and reading. There are also instructions in Finnish and Swedish. There is no sound in the game.
Please take notice
If you visit Amos Rex this spring and summer, you might hear a loud explosion from our neighbouring construction site.
Across the Lasipalatsi square and underground next to Amos Rex, lies a construction site for a new culture and event venue Kulttuurikasarmi, opening in 2023. At this moment, they are conducting 2–3 explosions daily during the weekdays. From the detonations a loud and sudden sound of 90–100dB can be heard at the museum. The volume is, for example, within the levels of a concert. There might also be some tremors that can be felt at the museum.
The explosions do not cause any danger to our museum visitors, but they can feel and sound a bit scary or startling. No other construction noise should be heard at the museum.
If loud and sudden sounds make you uncomfortable, you can visit us on Saturdays and Sundays. There are no explosions during the weekend. During the spring and summer, the construction moves little by little further away from the museum, and the decibel levels will go down simultaneously. The detonation work will be finished within July.
You can always ask our personnel for more information! We also keep this info updated. We apologise for any possible inconvenience caused!
This is a guidebook for your journey through the Subterranean group exhibition. It contains an introduction to the exhibition, in-depth descriptions of its themes, a list of artists as well as a floor plan to help you navigate the space. The gallery guide has been illustrated by Ulla Donner.
There are brochures in Finnish, Swedish and English. You’ll find it also at the museum for free.
Studio Rex is the museum’s art workshop space, which is open to all exhibition visitors.
During the Subterranean exhibition, Studio Rex has been transformed into a cave-like space. A stream-like dark green strip passes through it, where you can draw or write with chalk. You can borrow chalk on site. The green strip of space is the only surface that you can draw on at Studio Rex. The staff cleans off the texts and drawings at regular intervals, so they are not left permanently.
Please note: There is a recorded background sound environment playing at Studio Rex.
for visiting the Amos Rex
This description tells what to expect on your museum visit at Amos Rex. It’s meant for everyone who would like to get a little bit more information to prepare and plan for their visit at our museum. Where can you get your tickets, how do you enter the exhibition and who do you meet? You can read this before your visit.