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Jukka Lehtinen: Where The Strawberries Grow, 2007. You may not use this photo for commercial purposes. © Photo: Helsinki Art Museum

Oma maa mansikka / Where The Strawberries Grow

Artist Jukka Lehtinen

, Helsinki

Where the Strawberries Grow is a sculpture installation consisting of nine plant stems. The magnified strawberry leaves, buds and berries made of hot-dip galvanised acid-free steel create a work that reaches 4.5 metres at its highest point. The work is mounted in a planting basin with wild strawberries growing at its foot.

In this piece, Jukka Lehtinen makes use of a visual vocabulary that is familiar from pop art, advertising and comics. Other aspects linking the piece to pop art are the mundane subject matter, figurativeness and the clear shapes and structure. Lehtinen has a playful attitude towards sculpture: Where the Strawberries Grow is a statement against monumental art.

The Finnish title of the piece refers to the Finnish proverb which translates literally as ‘native land is strawberry, foreign land is blueberry’; its meaning is roughly the same as in ‘east, west, home is best’. Lehtinen also suggests that the Finnish saying may refer to the age of slash-and-burn cultivation in Finland. A patch of land where trees have been felled and burned, and which therefore often has wild strawberries growing on it, is owned by the farmer, and is therefore his “native land”. By contrast, blueberry grows in uncultivated forest, a type of land anyone could take possession of.

Lehtinen’s work was the winning entry in a competition for outdoor sculptures for the new Parliament annex. A total of 1,719 entries were submitted, 244 of which were plans for works to be placed in the planting basin.

This work does not belong to the collections of the Helsinki Art Museum.

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