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7. Lauri Anttila and Corinna Helenelund

Colour Circle, 2021

Installation with flowers, herbs, stones, signs.

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The flower bed in the shape of a colour circle has been made jointly by the sculptor Corinna Helenelund and the conceptual and land artist Lauri Anttila. They also showed together in 2019 at Gallery Sculptor in Helsinki and are continuing their collaboration here. Both have a strong focus on sensory perception and seeing in their artistic oeuvres. They show that a garden is not just a visual experience, but also a fragrant one, filled with sounds and tastes. In his sundial, which is inside the colour circle, Anttila has been influenced by the natural philosopher, priest, mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, and writer of almanacs and psalms Sigfrid Aron Forsius, who lived and worked in Ekenäs at the start of the 17th century. In her textile installation Helenelund has in turn begun with the medieval mystic and abbess Hildegard of Bingen. The colour circle combines Hildegard’s treatise on herbs with Forsius’ theory of colour and light, together creating a dialogue about colour, well-being and a holistic worldview that spans different time periods.

Forsius was one of the Renaissance era’s foremost researchers, combining scientific thinking with medieval beliefs – or ‘superstition’. A memorial stone to Forsius stands right next to the colour circle at Ekenäs Church and a street bears his name. Among other things, Forsius made drawings of humankind’s place in the cosmos and also constructed his own colour wheel. This unique circle was created some 100 years before Newton’s theory of colours, and 200 years before Goethe’s and Runge’s, but Forsius failed to attain a comparable status in Finland during his own time. In purely technical terms Anttila and Helenelund have begun directly with Forsius’ colour circle in the colours of the flowers and herbs here. The plants progressively come into bloom, making the colour circle a continual process. It consists of both warm and cold colours, and taken altogether raises questions about colour, light, our own existence, and time. Forsius studied the spectrum by using light. A broad colourless field has been left between the red, yellow and green, and blue. Horizontally the spectrum goes from red to blue, with warm and cold colours arrayed in contrast with each other. Vertically the light tones go from black to white. The other colours in the circle consist of different mixtures of these. Forsius used names such as green-cyan and violet-brown. Grey nuances were created using stones. Each segment has its own sign painted in colours from the circle, along with the name of the plant and a description of its effects.

Lauri Anttila (b. 1938) graduated from Aalto University (then the School of Art and Design) as an interior architect in 1965. The job of interior architect has, however, had to make way for his intense involvement in the visual art arena since the sixties, and also abroad from the 1990s up to the present. He primarily uses sculpture, photography, texts, drawings and installations as his means of expression. Many of his works are based on journeys that he has made in Scandinavia, Germany, Russia, the USA, Canada, and elsewhere. Anttila was Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, in 1988–1994, a Professor in 1989–2001, and is now Professor Emeritus of the Time and Space Arts subject area, which he founded. He has also taught abroad at art academies in Virginia, Manchester, Reykjavik among others. Anttila is an honorary member of the Ursa Astronomical Association and Association of Finnish Sculptors. In 2019, he took part in Kiasma’s Coexistence exhibition and in the Ateneum’s exhibition Finnish Artists in Ruovesi. In 2014, he showed solo at Ama Gallery and, in 2019, together with Corinna Helenelund at Galleria Sculptor, both in Helsinki. Anttila has made numerous public works, most of the sundials during the 2000s, for example, in Oulu, Vantaa and Vuosaari.

Photo: Tähdet ja Avaruus, Otto Laosmaa

The sculptor and installation artist Corinna Helenelund (b. 1985) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki in 2013 and is currently a Pro Artibus Villa Snäcksund grant holder. This year, she took part in the group exhibition Uncertain Horizon at WAM in Turku. Last year, she showed solo at HAM Gallery and, in 2019, together with Lauri Anttila at Gallery Sculptor. She has also shown at: Titanik in Turku; Gallery Sinne; Kunstverein Göttingen in Germany; Norrköpings konstmuseum in Sweden; EKKM in Tallinn; The Community in Paris; and with Jupiter Woods at Interstate in New York. In 2018, she was a HIAP resident artist at Suomenlinna, Helsinki. She has also spent time as resident artist in Italy, Lithuania, Salzburg and Berlin. Helenelund has made a public work in Porvoo in the form of a blue-and-white bus stop, and also created stage designs for the theatre. She frequently returns to textile and colour, which involve slow, meditative work. Her artworks can be sown, knitted, modelled or sculpted. Somatic thinking, embodied time, forms and formlessness in our “inner life” are recurrent themes of her work.

Photo: Sergio Urbina