Kirsi Kaulanen, Pohjoinen myriadi, 2022, kiiltohehkutettu ruostumaton teräs, valo. Yksityiskohta. Kuva Jussi Tiainen.

Northern myriard

Kirsi Kaulanen

Sara Leino | Teho Majamäki | Lauri Porra

Northern myriad surrounds the viewer like the landscape from the fells or the silent sound of space. The exhibition focuses on the laser-cut steel sculptures by Kirsi Kaulanen (b. 1969), a leading contemporary Finnish artist. The sculptures borrow their form from the contours of endangered plants and the ornamentation of the roots hidden under the forest floor.

Spreading on the walls, ceiling and floor, the sculptures are like living organisms or unknown universes. Full of details, they fill the space as a galaxy landed on the surface of Earth. The light rays reflecting off the steel and shadows floating on the walls are created by lighting designer Sara Leino. The spatial soundscape on the ground floor is created by composer and musician Lauri Porra.

With roots to Äkäslompolo, the village of seven fells in Kolari, Northern Finland, everything in Kaulanen’s art can be traced back to nature. For her, connection with and understanding of nature are a source of inexhaustible creativity and a prerequisite of existence: “I feel at home in myself when I am in the forest. The forest’s geometry, ornamentation and natural forms are imprinted in my body memory and flow through my hands into concrete forms.” The fear of the loss of biodiversity is there, but so is also an experience of beauty, enchantment and shared destiny.

In ancient Finnish culture, man, nature, and the universe were one. The universe was believed to be supported by a huge “world pillar”, Sammas, that created the order of the world and connected the vault of heaven to the Earth. Kaulanen’s wooden world pillar dominates the exhibition space. Wood, specifically spruce, pine and aspen, are also the materials of the womb-like comforting work State of Being (Olotila). Its soundscape is created in cooperation with sound designer and percussionist Teho Majamäki. Majamäki is also responsible for the soundscape of the Motus body of works, with the sculptures functioning as soloists.

In recent years, Kirsi Kaulanen has focused on designing and implementing public artworks. The most recent of these is the memorial to former President Mauno Koivisto, called The Mediator (Välittäjä), which will be located in Little Parliament Park in Helsinki. Its over two-metre miniature model will be displayed at the exhibition for the first time.