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Grönlund–Nisunen’s new public art installation Triad completed in Kalasatama

29.1.2021 8:59

Grönlund-Nisunen: Triad, 2021 / Photo: HAM/Kirsi Halkola

A new public work of art is now complete in Kalasatama Comprehensive School, Helsinki. Triad by Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen is a colourful light installation embedded into the wall of the school cafeteria. The installation integrated into the architecture consists of three circles created with LED strips with regularly changing colours.

When the colours change, random visual triads are formed. They are based on the seven-colour palette presented by physicist Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727): blue, magenta, red, orange, yellow, green and cyan. The colours can form up to 343 combinations.

The installation is like a test for colour harmony, studying possible corresponds between musical triads and the tricolour combinations. The seven-colour palette can be seen as similar to the octave in Western music, which includes seven whole tones.

“Many of our works involve randomness, which is often based on natural phenomena, such as the fluctuations in radioactive background radiation. Even if its average stays constant, there may be vast variations within a short period of time. The works have a life of their own within specifically set threshold values for the works’ control systems. What’s fascinating about randomness is that, despite our rational efforts, life is always random in the end,” the artists say.

Tommi Grönlund (b. 1967) and Petteri Nisunen (b. 1962) have worked together since the early 1990s. Their portfolio consists of installations and interventions made in both the built environment and the natural environment. The works often involve scientific, physical and mechanical phenomena, such as movement, light and sound. Their works have been displayed in several exhibitions around the world, and they have implemented numerous installations in public spaces in both Finland and elsewhere in Europe. Recently in 2020, Grönlund–Nisunen’s extensive solo exhibition, Flow with Matter, was displayed at Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum. In 2013, Grönlund–Nisunen won the Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts, and in 2001, they received the Finland Award for art.

The City of Helsinki adheres to the Percent for Art principle, which means that approximately one per cent of the City’s new construction and renovation expenses are dedicated to the creation of new public art. In recent years, extensive construction efforts have made it possible to commission art for many public buildings in Jakomäki, Maunula, Jätkäsaari and Vallila, among other Helsinki areas. HAM Helsinki Art Museum serves as an arts expert in these projects, and the works are added to HAM’s art collection.

Petteri Nisunen and Tommi Grönlund / Photo: HAM/Kirsi Halkola