Accessibility tools

Two new works of art in Helsinki’s schools

18.9.2019 9:38

Tuomas A. Laitinen: The Game of biomes, 2019 / Photo: Maija Toivanen

Two new public works of art created with the help of the percentage financing principle have been completed in Helsinki. The Game of Biomes by Tuomas A. Laitinen has been hung in the recently opened Jätkäsaari Comprehensive School, and Siimes by Ilari Hautamäki adorns the walls in the yard of the renovated Munkkivuori Comprehensive School, Lower Stage.

Tuomas A. Laitinen’s (born 1976) multi-part work The Game of Biomes is displayed in the new Jätkäsaari Comprehensive School building’s three light wells, which fill the building’s floors with light pouring in via skylight windows.

The work includes hand-blown glass sculptures hung in two of the light wells. The blazing colours of the oval-shaped glass sculptures were created using the Swedish overlay technique, in which layers of glass of different colours are stacked on top of one another, resulting in colour combinations reminiscent of chemical reactions. The glass sculptures contain organic, sculptural shapes, which the artist himself describes as “glowing deep-sea creatures.” The work also includes an animated video piece, the imagery of which is constantly changing based on an algorithm created by the artist. The video piece can be seen as depicting the growth of a living organism or growth graphs simulated by a mathematical model. Laitinen is interested in questions about the relationship between biological systems and social life. In fact, in the coming years The Game of Biomes will expand to the areas of environmental pedagogy and civic participation with the help of the Biome currency launched by Laitinen. Through it, the artist is donating funds for the school’s pupil activities, which will make it possible to increase pupil-centred climate awareness and environmental advocacy.

Tuomas A. Laitinen works with moving image, sound, light, glass, chemical and microbial processes. In recent years, Laitinen’s works have been displayed around the world in places such as Sydney and Seoul in 2018 and in Finland in a private exhibition at Turku Art Museum in 2019.

Ilari Hautamäki’s (born 1983) painted work Siimes covers the surfaces of the concrete walls in the yard of Munkkivuori Comprehensive School, Lower Stage, with a jungle vegetation motif. The work also includes a painting hung in the school’s lobby. The school building, which was originally completed in 1966, was recently renovated with the aim of preserving its original material and colour choices. Hautamäki says that he examined the relationship between the built environment and vegetation in his paintings. The plant-themed piece in the lobby uses colours and rhythm to engage in dialogue with the building’s red brick cladding. As is the case with Hautamäki’s previous works as well, both the indoor and outdoor pieces are dominated by bold brush strokes and strong tones.

Ilari Hautamäki is a visual artist who moves between abstraction and figuration in his paintings. Hautamäki had a private exhibition at the Indoor Fireworks Helsinki Contemporary gallery in 2019 and at HAM Gallery in 2017.

The City of Helsinki adheres to the percentage financing principle, which means that approximately one per cent of the City’s new construction and renovation expenses is reserved for the creation of new public art. In recent years, extensive construction efforts have made it possible to commission art for many public buildings in Kalasatama, Vallila, Yliskylä and Töölönlahti, for example. HAM Helsinki Art Museum serves as an arts expert in these projects, and the works are added to HAM’s act collection.

Ilari Hautamäki: Siimes, 2019 / Photo: Maija Toivanen