Several of the strong and unique personalities within the field of Finnish artists come from the north. Rapidly taking her place at the side of Andreas Alariesto, Kalervo Palsa, Anu Pentik and Reidar Särestöniemi is Pello-born sculptor Essi Korva who works in Sammalvaara in Kolari in an old school building she has given the name Willa Korva.
Like the other artists at the Natural Forms exhibition, Essi Korva is also very material-conscious. In her sculptures she combines wood, concrete, plaster and ceramics with natural materials such as beard lichen, moss and monk’s hood lichen that are found within the grounds of Willa Korva, as well as hair and fur she gets as donations and through the natural hair-shedding of animals. Korva emphasizes that while gathering and using natural materials she respects animals and nature. She feels that it is important to also use recycled materials as part of her works, such as junk metal, discarded old items and recycled plastic. The use of recycled and natural materials can be seen as criticism of consumer society, but equally well as a redefinition of the relationship with nature and understanding and respect for the expressive potential of materials.
Essi Korva’s themes consist mainly of human figures. The works displayed at Kultaranta are child figures the artist has made out of cement, plaster, plants and animal hair. Who are these timid-looking children and adolescents, who have sunken into their loneliness? Based on their age, they cannot be interpretations of Mother Earth; more like the daughters of the Earth Mother, spirits of nature or children who have run away from gnomes, who according to folk tradition have stolen them from humans and replaced them with their own children. These could also be fantasy characters for which the artist has drawn inspiration from popular culture. In any case, these emotionally strong figures are experienced in vastly different ways. Some of those observing them consider them to be somewhat frightening or distressing, while others feel that these children with their heart-wrenching gazes need assistance and company – closeness and warmth for their loneliness.
Korva studied at the Toppila arts-oriented high school in Oulu from 2001 to 2004, at the Kanneljärvi College in Lohja from 2005 to 2006, at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia in Spain in 2009 and at the Lahti Institute of Design and Fine Arts from 2006 to 2010. She displayed her work for the first time in an exhibition in Monumentteja nykypäivälle (Monuments for Today) outdoor art exhibition in Lahti in 2008. Her works have been on display in many exhibitions in other Nordic countries, in Estonia and in Mexico. Korva was a teacher of mixed media sculpture at the Finnish Swedish folk high school Svefi from 2016 to 2017 and 2019. Korva maintained an artist residency in Willa Korva from 2016 to 2019. She was the curator of Ars Kärsämäki in 2017 in Kärsämäki and she curated the exhibition Oranki Konkarit together with Pekka Syväniemi and Tuomas Korkalo at Willa Korva in Kolari.
About the artist
Studies and Prizes
Selected exhibitions and public works
Artwork: Essi Korva, Sounds of Forest, (2019).
Photo of artwork: Vesa Aaltonen
Photo of artist: Essi Korva