New public artworks completed around Helsinki
Six new artworks implemented with the percent for art principle were completed around the city, in various facilities used by Helsinki residents of different ages. Three new daycare centres have received works by Leena Kangaskoski, Ninni Luhtasaari and Maija Luutonen. Works by Petri Ala-Maunus and Jaakko Leeve were completed in school buildings. Works by Jenni Rope were presented in the renovated Myllypuro senior centre.
The installation comprising three pieces by Leena Kangaskoski (born 1982) is located in the recently completed Daycare Centre Hopealaakso in Kruunuvuorenranta. The daycare centre was designed by architect agency AFKS.
Kangaskoski based her art pieces on the history of Hopealaakso: The area – named ‘Silver Valley’ in Finnish – was home to a silver mine in late 18th century, and many minerals have been discovered in the area aside from silver, such as chalcopyrite, zinc pyrite, calcite, galena and sphalerite.
The work Copper Mound Stash is located in the shaft of light between the building’s two floors. The work is made with glazed ceramics and built of shapes opening downwards, like boulders that seem ancient and peaceful when viewed from above. Inside, these boulders reveal the slow process of mineralisation and change that has lasted several million years.
The piece Shooting Star Jelly is on the hall window. The moment after melting and blending has been captured in the glass, reminiscent of solidified lava in stone.
The work Sand Grain Glow consists of several glass shapes mouth-blown into moulds. The mineral deposit bursting out of the wall reminds onlookers of slowly crystallising geological marvels. Glass is mostly made of very fine grains of sand that melt in high heat and start to glow in light.
Kangaskoski’s pieces bring a throw-back to the last centuries’ local history into the daycare centre, but also parallel our day-to-day conception of time with geological time.
The series of works by Ninni Luhtasaari (born 1987) – Versot (‘Shoots’) – spreads over the new facilities of Daycare Centre Kukkaniitty in Vartiokylä. The new building of Daycare Centre Kukkaniitty was designed by Linja Arkkitehdit Oy.
The wall-mounted ceramic relief pieces are called Nenäkkäin, Auringonhalaaja, Tupsukaverit, Kukan päällä, Kukkamakoilija, Kukkamoikkaaja, Lampikaveri ja Maantutkija (Loosely translated to as ‘Nose-to nose, Sun-hugger, Bobble friends, On a flower, Napping on a flower, Saying hello to a flower, Pond friend, and Earth explorer’). The works feature gentle creatures that explore their surroundings and have a talent for curiosity and caring. In some of the pieces, the creatures have become part of the vegetation and other organic shapes. The artist believes that the gentle faces in the pieces can bring support and safety amidst everyday confusion.
The multi-piece work Gust by Maija Luutonen (born 1978) spreads across Lauttasaari Daycare Centre, in three different stairways and the yard area. The Lauttasaari daycare centre building was designed by Arkkitehtitoimisto Luutonen Oy.
The needle-punched wool textile piece in the hall resembles a fragmented map, the loose parts of which have flown away with a gust of wind and landed on the stairways and the yard. The wall textile has a wavy pattern that hides various shapes and elements that start to stand out gradually when looking at the piece. The parts of the work located in the stairways get their shape from the wall textile’s wave, but these shapes have shattered into fragments. The light installations have been made with the LED Countour technique. The patterns in the pieces spread over the yard have been hand-carved in several stones found at the construction site.
According to the artist, the theme of the work is demolition and construction, perceiving texts and images, and searching and finding. The artist borrowed shapes for the work from sources such as calligraphy, waves, numerals, flying pieces of paper, leaves, tentacles and the building’s architecture. The shapes, materialised in different states, look like they are attempting to form signs and symbols.
The work Back to the Future by Petri Ala-Maunus (born 1970) is hanging in the lobby of the renovated Aleksis Kivi School in Kallio. For this more than five-metre tall oil painting, Ala-Maunus has created a collage-like combination of images from forest landscapes of the renaissance era. The artist himself explains that the work is a part of the tradition of representing ‘ wild, untouched nature’. The school’s location in Kallio also influenced the idea behind the work. To experience a true forest, one must travel further away from the inner city. With his work, the artist wanted to create a counterpoint to the built environment, a reminder of something else.
Jaakko Leeve (born 1982) implemented his multimedia piece Hornan tuutti (literally ‘funnel of inferno’) in the renovated Konala Primary School. The work creates a two-and-half-metre crack in the middle of the school’s leisure and library space, with glowing lava flowing at the bottom. This rip in the earth can be viewed through a glass floor. The artist believes that the work, combining sculpture with a lava animation, inspires thoughts and ideas of natural sciences, geological phenomena and fantasy.
The renovations of Konala Primary School were designed by Arkkitehtitoimisto Perko.
Jenni Rope (born 1977) created two kinetic mobile sculptures for Myllypuro Senior Centre. The works, Mobile A and Mobile Ö, take over the air space in two different spaces in the building, and the components of the pieces move slowly with draughts of air. Mobile A is located in the entryway’s staircase. The components of irregular shapes and different sizes form an installation with a diameter of approximately two meters, throwing slowly moving shadows on the walls of the staircase. The colour palette, combining different shades of blue, light grey and yellow gold, was inspired by the colours of the original hospital building from the 1970s. Mobile Ö is featured in the Winter Garden room. The mobile sculpture glows in different shades of green, light grey, creamy white and iron oxide red. The shapes throw shadows on the vivid green wall of the recreational space, thus expanding the piece’s rhythm and kinetics across the whole space.
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 Kalasatama, Jakomäki, Maunula and Jätkäsaari, 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.