Erkki Kannosto has had a long and unusually diverse career as an artist that began in the late 1960s. The characteristic features of Kannosto’s artistry have been a serial and thematic working method and an unquenchable curiosity towards the expressive potential of materials and their combinations. Different themes have required specific materials, and the shape and visual appearance of his works are a result of conscious work and materials. The scale of Kannosto’s works also varies greatly; he has created large public works of art as well as miniature sculptures. He is also known as a medal artist. Kannosto says he gets new ideas while tending to the garden.
The works exhibited at Kultaranta are part of two series. The works made out of coloured glass materials and steel are part of the group of works called Puutarhaunelmia (Garden Dreams) and the marble works of the series Terälehdet (Petals). Kannosto began studying the interaction between steel and glass in the early 2010s. A key part of Puutarhaunelmia is a work with the same name that was completed for the library space of the new building of the Tuusula office of the vocational education and training provider Keuda in 2013. In this six-meter high work, stylized lilacs and reddish creepers are blossoming as allegorical symbols for the spring and autumn. The strong dynamic of the lines and the laws of shapes and counter-shapes and rhythm and composition are characteristic of the work at Keuda as well as the other works in the series. The combinations of steel line net and colourful glasses are also reminiscent of the stained-glass paintings of old churches. The colour scheme of both becomes alive in more depth as the sunlight is filtered through them. In the Terälehdet series, completed in 2014, Kannosto has used classical and heavy stone material to express the lightness and fragility of plant parts. In their search for a pure shape, the sculptures become part of the tradition of modernist sculpting art. Without a title to provide a direction for interpreting the works, these sculptures could be seen as pure abstractions.
Erkki Kannosto studied sculpture at the Fine Arts Academy of Finland from 1966 to 1970. His works were on display for the first time in an exhibition in the Tampere Library building (nowadays Culture House Laikku). Kannosto has participated in the FIDEM – International Art Medal Federation’s biennial exhibitions from 1973. He has participated in various exhibitions displaying Finnish art also from the same year. Kannosto has pursued a noteworthy career in art teaching and he has also held various positions of trust in art organizations. He was e.g. a teacher and a head teacher at the University of Art and Design Helsinki from 1973 to 2001, teacher at the Pekka Halonen Academy from 1998 to 2011. His works are included in the collections of prominent Finnish art museums, communities and companies. He has made over 20 public works situated around the country. Perhaps the most well-known are Monument to Red Prisoners of the 1918 Civil War, which was erected in Lahti in 1978, altar relief Uutinen torilla (Market square news), which was unveiled at the Ylöjärvi Congregation Centre in 1982, Monument to the sculptor Johannes Takanen, which was erected in Virolahti in 1985, Kaivosmiesten muistomerkki (Monument to the Miners), which was erected in Outokumpu in 1986, Paperintekijän patsas (Statue of the Paper Maker), which was unveiled in Anjalankoski in 1989 and the sculptures Syvä jano (Deep Thirst) and Matkakuume (Travel Fever), which were erected in Vaasa in 2005 and Varjoja metsässä (Shadow in the Forest), which was erected also in Vaasa in 2006. Kannosto also won the first prize in the art competitions for the three monuments, which are mentioned first above. He has also been awarded in numerous other art competitions. Kannosto is a honorary member of the Association of Finnish Sculptors and The Guild of Medallic Art in Finland. Erkki Kannosto was awarded the Knight of the Order of the Lion of Finland in 2015.
About the artist
Studies and Prizes
Selected exhibitions and public works
Artwork: Erkki Kannosto, from the series Puutarhaunelmia (Garden Dreams), (2014–2020)
Pelargonia (Geranium), 2015, molten glass and steel
Hannu ja Kerttu (Hansel and Gretel), 2020, molten glass and steel
Siniset kellot (Blue Bellflowers), 2015, molten glass and steel
Photo of artwork: Vesa Aaltonen
Photo of artist: Jefunne Kimbel