Animal motifs in Finnish sculpture
The Kultaranta Sculpture Exhibition of the summer of 2021 takes a look at how artists have approached animal motifs in Finnish sculpture from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. The Office of the President of the Republic of Finland and the Alfred Kordelin Foundation are organizing a series of three nature-themed summer sculpture exhibitions at the park of the presidential summer residence, Kultaranta. This summer’s exhibition is the first of them. Animals are among the most traditional motifs in visual arts.
Studying fauna from different perspectives has provided artists with an endless source of inspiration. Animals have been depicted in various forms – as domestic, useful, pestering or wild. Myths, fairy-tales and fables are full of fantastic creatures from centaurs to mermaids that combine human and animal features as well as human characteristics with animal characteristics. Countless artists have depicted these mythical creatures and added in their own characters. Animal imagery also has symbolic meanings. The swan, the lynx and the bear have a special status in this regard in Finnish art. In the works that are part of the Encounters exhibition animals appear as assistance and joy to humans, as beasts and mythical hybrids of human and animal whose meaning is fully open to interpretation. The theme of nature conservation and animal protection is also strongly present at the exhibition as a whole.
The artists at this exhibition are Emil Cedercreutz, Timo Heino, Viktor Jansson, Matti Kalkamo, Jussi Mäntynen, Taru Mäntynen, Heli Ryhänen and Jenni Tieaho. The works by Pirkko Nukari and Veikko Myller that have been deposited at Kultaranta by the Alfred Kordelin Foundation are part of the summer exhibition.