Marimekko brightens up Victoria

The Finnish textile and clothing design company part of the exhibits at Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Marimekko, the Finnish textile and clothing design company that revolutionized the design world with its lively, groundbreaking prints is coming to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria with the exhibit Marimekko, With Love.

Opening Saturday (Feb. 7), the art gallery is presenting a  retrospective, which draws together landmark Marimekko fabrics and fashions created by pioneering designers during the 1960s and 70s.

Lengths of fabric from the time period include the company’s most famous designs, such as Unikko, which today, some 50 years later, is one of the most recognizable patterns in the world.

This large poppy pattern was born in 1964 shortly after the Marimekko’s founder, Armi Ratia, who favoured original and utopian designs, had announced the company would never print florals.

Famed designer Maija Isola, who produced many of Marimekko’s most recognized patterns, designed an entire collection of floral patterns in protest – true to the company’s collaborative and pioneering culture.

But the exhibition, like the company, is about more than fabric design.

Photographs, letters and more tell the personal stories and relationships at the heart of the company’s international impact, as well Marimekko’s impact on the Canadian design scene.

Art gallery visitors will get a sense of the excitement and changes that swept the design communities in Finland, Canada and other countries thanks to Marimekko’s belief in form and function as well as being bold and comfortable.

The company was revolutionary in changing the way people expressed their personalities and recognized the power of design in everyday life.

“This exhibition is exciting for us for a number of reasons,” says Nicole Stanbridge, AGGV’s curator of engagement.

“It brings together art and design as it applies to both iconic objects from our daily lives and key moments in art history and popular culture. The vision behind Marimekko connects to a lineage of art movements that created ideals for living, such as the Arts and Crafts, International Style, and Bauhaus movements.”

Marimekko, With Love runs until May 3.

For more information, please go online to aggv.ca or call 250-384-4171.

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