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Olli Keränen and Maija Luutonen: Pica pica, 2023. You may not use this photo for commercial purposes. Photo: © HAM/Kirsi Halkola

Pica pica

© Artists

Aallonhalkoja 10, Helsinki

Maija Luutonen and Olli Keränen’s Pica pica consists of coins that have been spread and set in the paving stones of the Aallonhalkoja street square. The coins have been spread in a fan shape, as if they had rolled down the square. Some of the coins are in clusters, and some stand out individually.

The work’s central idea is to make visible the city’s strata and the passage of time. The coins seem accidental in the same way as pug marks or sole patterns left in wet asphalt over the course of years.

Pica pica’s coins are not current currency – that is obvious. The sizes and colours of the coins, cast in steel and bronze, are exceptional. The coins feature six different motifs. The images, texts and numbers refer to not only the past but also the future: the oldest money and the newest technologies in the world. Some of the figures on the coins seem to have worn unrecognisable by extended use; some of the coins propose future moneys. The work also refers to the temptation to pick up shiny items: Pica pica is the Latin for magpie.

Artist Maija Luutonen (b. 1978) is known for her acrylic paintings on paper in which she exploits the living texture of the materials. Luutonen’s paintings create spatial ensembles. She also works with other materials, including textiles, natural materials and light, as, for example, in her work Puuska (2020) in the Lauttasaari daycare centre. Her works are often abstract and display recognisable forms from calligraphy and of slips of paper suddenly flying off. Olli Keränen (b. 1979) works in the interface between sculpture and moving image. His works combine handicraft with the mechanically produced. They are somehow familiar and, at the same time, novel and unfamiliar: in a spatial context, the materials’ archetypal forms create new meanings when things are, after all, not what they initially looked like. This is also the case in his Siilitie metro station’s public work I Saw You Coming (2016).

The work belongs to the collection of the City of Helsinki, managed by HAM Helsinki Art Museum.

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