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Eino Ruutsalo: Messages to the Unknown, 1998. You may not use this photo for commercial purposes. © Photo: Helsinki Art Museum / Hanna Kukorelli

Messages to the Unknown

Artist Eino Ruutsalo

Asentajanpuisto, Herttoniemi, Helsinki

Eino Ruutsalo (1921-2001) is an artist and a film maker. His career in art began in the 1950s when he, like many of his contemporaries, studied the shapes and forms of nature in order to paint their abstract basic elements. Through consistent experimenting he discovered rhythm and movement; he is renowned for his large kinetic light walls. Ruutsalo has never paid much heed to traditional boundaries between art forms. As a film maker, he has followed similar paths, making films of kinetic art, using experimental techniques such as painting directly on film. He made his first film in 1953.

Messages to The Unknown comprises two parts, one entitled Obelisk and the other Bellows. Ruutsalo originally started the piece in the 1970s, and an early version of it won praise in a competition for a public monument in Espoo’s Tapiola, but was never realized.

The present version was made with the sponsorship of Managing Director Launo Laakkonen of Temet Oy which manufactures shelters and protective structures. The piece is welded from 4 and 5 mm thick American COR-TEN steel plates. This type of steel turns a very dark brown due to corrosion (black steel). The surfaces of the plates were also sandblasted for final effect.

The work has been deponated to the City and does not belong to the collections of the Helsinki Art Museum.

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