Anssi Pulkkinen’s ruins installation in Habitare

The Habitare Fair shows sculptor Anssi Pulkkinen’s installation of a ruined Syrian home, Street View (Reassembled), in the Fair Center on 13-17 September.
photo credits: The Finnish Cultural Institute in the Benelux

Pulkkinen’s installation consists of the ruins of a Syrian home that was destroyed in the Syrian War, and brings it in the middle of the city scene as a 13.5-meter installation on a truck trailer. The work has been commissioned by the Finnish Cultural Institute in the Benelux and it was premiered in Brussels, Belgium in June. The installation has traveled in the Benelux countries during the summer and is now shown at the Habitare fair.

Anssi Pulkkinen (born 1982) is a Finnish sculptor and video artist. He has studied in Aalto University and at the Academy of Fine Arts. Pulkkinen is currently completing his studies at the Aalto University Film Directing Programme and conducting a doctoral degree in Fine Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Uniarts Helsinki. Pulkkinen's works have been presented earlier in Kiasma and Mänttä's art festivals. He has performed several public works and has also been awarded in international art competitions.

The theme of homelessness is timely

The contemporary artwork of the ruins of the three homes destroyed in the war raises questions about war and losing a home, homelessness and its experience. The installation also refers to the current phenomenon of refugees, lack of solidarity and xenophobia in Finland and Europe.

- The relationship between the experience and the surrounding space has long been one of my interests. Space is not just a background but also a mirror. The home destroyed by the war is an extreme example of the scattered sense of being and the impending pursuit of homelessness, whether it is of physical or mental nature, Pulkkinen commented on his work.

Pulkkinen is familiar with the photographs of the  World War II found in the Finnish Army Photographic Archive. Except photos from the front, they contain large amounts of images of bombed, burning and collapsing buildings around Finland. Similar views can now be followed in the news streams from Syria.

- In Syria, like in countless other areas of crisis or poverty in the world, people are forced to leave their homes because there are no alternatives. The ruined building is always in relation to its surrounding space and landscape.

The ruins symbolize a mobile home

Anssi Pulkkinen’s work was commissioned by the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux  and was selected by an international jury with an open search. The premiere was seen in June at the Belgian Cultural Center BOZAR in Brussels. The modern art project of the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux is part of the Mobile Home 2017 joint project of the Finnish Cultural Institutes in Paris, Benelux, Berlin and London. The theme of the largest joint project of history of the cultural institutes is the different meanings and forms of home and living. The project presents the conceptions and interpretations of dwelling, homelessness and the home of the centuries-old Finnish story in different European cities.

The aspects of the Street View (Reassembled) will also be discussed in an international essay collection Home Reassembled, that will be published by a Dutch publishing house Jap Sam Books this autumn. The starting point for the texts are the different interpretations of Pulkkinen’s installation. The writer team consists of experts in contemporary art, architecture and the Middle East, including a Syrian architect and writer Marwa Al-Sabouni and the Islam researcher, professor Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila.

Mobile Home 2017 is part of Finland 100th Years Programme. The project is supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Arts Promotion Center. Street View (Reassembled) is also supported by the Saastamoinen Foundation, Habitare and the Verbeke Foundation.

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