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Venonen / Boatie

– "to the waters would this vessel" (Kalevala, poem 39:169)
Environmental artwork in the Housing Fair area in Kuopio, 16 July -15 August 2010


Boat, fishing net, leaf of a tree or crescent? Venonen was all of this and who knows what, but above all a memorial for a forest that was.

I built the Venonen from bits of wood that I found in water, honed beautiful by water, and rusty wire. All the materials of the work were recycled and self-collected; also remnants and fragments of my earlier works were included.

Venonen was born and taking shape in interaction with the environment. It got its final form during the Housing Fair. I darned, patched and tarred the boat from time to time during the fair especially in 27-29 July 2010 when the public could affect the work taking shape.

Venonen was seen, smelled and felt, and people were permitted to touch it.


Mommy look fishes, exclaimed a boy.

They are like jewels, said a youngish woman.

From farther off it looked like someone frying vendace in the sun.

You're refining nature's art, uttered a middle-aged man.

Rebar, wire and bits of wood, wonderful! exclaimed a buxom woman.

Are they fishes or birds, asked many passers-by.

Swifts, quoth a young man after observing the Venonen from the terrace of a restaurant.

Drying fish here? asked a grandpa.

It sure belongs to this landscape and not to a living room ceiling, assessed a young man.

How many times have you tarred it, asked the tar expert. He and one or two other guys stopped to think back tarring of boats and skis and to spur discussions on different grades of tar and producing tar by dry-distilling.

The scent of tar fascinated many, for instance a horde of youth who did not notice its source.

Will this remain here, asked many. No it won't, told the artist. The process will continue in some other place, maybe in some exhibition space or semi-public park or a yard on a lakeside.

Accompanied by positive attention on the last working day, Thursday 29 Juy, the artist ended up in a flow state in a heat of about 33 degrees and hardly was able to stop. The next night the storm Asta hit the cottage lakeshore from which the bits of the Venonen had been gathered. A birch fell on the cottage and other big trees around it. In the eye of the storm the artist saw with the eyes of her soul how in the fair area the Venonen takes off, how the air is filled with stalls, signboards, lamps, decorative statues, ice cream... But luckily the storm had bypassed Kuopio and disaster was avoided. And blessing in disguise: Lots of new branches and bits of wood accrued to being honed on the cottage shore.

Venonen was one of the four outdoors artworks made to the fair area, which were selected through the SARKA project's competition. The competition and implementation were supported by the North Savo Council of Art and the North Savo Fund of the Finnish Cultural Foundation. The artist was assisted in realizing the artwork by Nuutti Korpela and Mikko Korpela.