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Heimo Suntio: Merkkien järjestäytyminen / The Organisation of Signs, 2002. You may not use this photo for commercial purposes. © Photo: Helsinki Art Museum / Hanna Rikkonen

The Organisation of Signs

Artist Heimo Suntio

Ruuti Daycare Centre, Kontulankaari 22, Helsinki

Heimo Suntio likes to combine different elements, materials and techniques in his art. He often shows life and art in unexpected juxtaposition where the dreamlike surprise serves to deconstruct our conventional notions.The Ruuti Community Centre has multiple functions, which is also expressed in the work of art on the facade.

Suntio’s work contains allusions to all artistic disciplines: architecture, fine arts, literature and music. By combining different elements, the artist creates a play of associations on the subject of learning and growing in the creative endeavours of arts and crafts. The bronze relief on the facade depicts two kids with their school satchels. The figures’ surface texture shows the archetypal landscape of children’s drawings: a house, the sun, flowers and animals.

The structure that extends from the plinth has a square and a rectangular opening one after the other, symbolising the process of growth. Above the lower of the two openings there is a round bronze relief with letter signs of different cultures and ages circling its rim. In the centre of the relief is a poem commissioned for the work from Tomi Kontio.

The structure has also a lighted section made of glass blocks, next to the “Burning Bush” on top of the wall above the taller opening. Hands and a golden flame emerge from the surface of the juniper-like bronze sculpture.

In the centre of the round relief the poem by Tomi Kontio is written in the form of a circle: “From the vault of the womb, the cathedral of soft echo, those entering this world, come. From the union of oxygen and lungs, a primal explosion. A long, dark vowel, the painful cry of life. And when the cry sticks in the throat like the arrows of the Hittites, the word is born, death is become flesh, and faith. Flickering pictograms in a long darkness. Each word like skipping rope and the smooth silence in between, captured in clay by a cut reed, in pens of signs. Girls with plaits make Kontulankaari go round. Some say everything, some chatter like magpies in a sandbox.”

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

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