Väre’s public art collection examines equality

Collection was published with “Global Equality” as its art concept.
Kreutzstrasse by Gloria Lauterbach. Image: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto University

The public art collection of Aalto University’s new building, Väre, discusses global equality in a variety of ways. Art concept “Global Equality” reflects upon, for example, the Sámi culture, the relationship between modern ceramics and traditional craftsmanship in China, and the contradictions of female sexuality in India. The works also examine the concept of disability, transgender and refugee issues through equality.

“Art challenges us to rethink our common assumptions. It helps us understand who we are, and how we see others,” says Anna Valtonen, Vice President of Art and Creative Practices at Aalto University. “To be able to experience great art at Väre is a privilege for us and an enormous commitment by Aalto University, which decided to comply with the one per cent art principle as the first university in Finland.”

Aalto University Lumen Kirsi Kaulanen Image: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto University

Kirsi Kaulanen's "Lumen" is made of 150 laser-cut steel flowers reflects the relationship humans have with nature. Image: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto University

Artists with a strong connection with Aalto University

The main pieces are Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen's artwork "Insight" and Kirsi Kaulanen's artwork "Lumen". Gloria Lauterbach's "Kreutzstrasse" won the student art competition, the goal of which was to generate ideas for decorating a 70-meter concrete wall.

”I am very much moved by it being here in its place in Väre. Here, the artwork can rest, grow, interweave, unfold with its surrounding. Because Kreutzstrasse is a rework of an event that has happened in Zurich in 2015 when storm Niklas raged and already longer time ago when the original roof has been built, I in fact as the artist just jumped in the middle to "report" from this very moment. To do so, I become a knot with a storm-sculpted roof, and speak with and from within the piece. “Global Equality” represents the opportunity to discuss the entanglement of all matter as well as it being as a form-taking process based on correspondence and kinship with its surroundings”, Lauterbach says.

Aalto University’s Art Coordinator Outi Turpeinen the rest of the public art purchases, but proposals from the community settling into the new building were also considered. Marja Helander, Sasha Huber, Otto Karvonen, Lotta Mattila, Teemu Mäki, Silja Puranen, Perttu Saksa, Vidha Saumya, Kim Soohyun and Tapio Yli-Viikari are international artists, who all are connected to Aalto University, either by being students, alumni or by having been professors in the university. 

Aalto University Väre Insight Gronlund Nisunen Image: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto University

Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen's artwork "Insight's" slowly rotating mirror surfaces offer contrast to the majestic staircases.  Image: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto University

Global Equality as the art concept

One of the main ideas for displaying art at Väre is to provide art works that create a durable and exciting environment, while leaving enough space for temporary exhibitions and events. The concept of “Global equality” emphasizes first the global aspect of the arts, which has increased in recent decades. Secondly, the concept puts weight on the Finnish democratic value of equality, which provides visibility to difference and highlights its acceptance. Väre art concept was co-created by Aalto University’s Art Coordinator Outi Turpeinen with the faculty and students of School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

The art percent is a funding model for art purchases, where approximately one per cent of a building project's funds are allocated to art purchases. The catalogue and a video series on the Väre’s public art will be published 6 October 2018. 

Aalto University Väre Lions share Mattila Image: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto University

Lotta Mattila's "Lions share" examines the roles of men and women. Image: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto University