June 27, 2009

Edvin Hevonkoski, Edvininpolku/ Edvin`s Path

picture from the website postfuturism.org

Life and works

Edvin Hevonkoski (1923-2009) was born in Alavus and lived his later years in the city of Vaasa, Finland, where he had a job as a sheet metal worker.

Retired in 1982 at almost age sixty he began a new career: making sculptures, first from wood, later on from scrap metal.

Active for many years, Hevonkoski all together has made some 300 creations. He impersonated famous people, such as the president of Finland and characters from classic (Nordic) stories.

sculpture along the trail (from Bogartsblogg)

His house became too small for his production and mrs Hevonkoski probably was not amused by so many items around, so he decided to display the sculptures along a 1300 m long jogging trail that runs through the wooded area near his house.

I understand that it took some time before the local authorities realized what was going on there in the woods and once they did, they just let it happen.

Finnish president Tanja Halonen (2000-2006)
picture from weblog joce.blogit.kauppalehti.fi

On September 8, 2009, Edvin Hevonkoski died.

this picture and the next one (2018) by Sophie Lepetit 

Future of the site

It is not clear who in the future will take care of the collection. The city of Vaasa has not yet decided what to do. Some years ago a local group asked the city council to take measures to establish kind of a museum to house the creations. This suggestion however got a negative advise from local art experts, mainly because of the financial aspects.

* In another world, Kiasma, Helsinki, 2005
Other Art, an exposition which in 2009 and 2010 traveled through Norway, Sweden and Finland. The Finnish part of the expo took place in the Ostrobothnian Museum in Vaasa. Special attention has been paid to Hevonkoski.

Documentation and more pictures
* Website with the location and a route of the trail, and with pictures of the creations along he trail
* Series of pictures on Vaasapedia
* On Bogartsblogg (October 2011) a series of pictures of the sculptures along the trail
* Article and pictures on the ITE-taide website
* On Sophie Lepetit's weblog an article, a series of pictures and one more series of pictures (November 2018)

* A video The path of Edvin made by Klas Fransberg (2010, 19'59", subtitled in English) is available on the website Culture Unplugged (cannot be embedded here)
* Video (You Tube, 6'42", uploaded May 2011) showing activities in restoring sculptures along the trail (in Finnish)

* Video by Mira House (YouTube, 5'00", uploaded November 2011) showing Hevonkoski's sculptures and other creations

Edvin Hevonkoski
Aleksis Kiventie 59 (here the trail begins)
65300 Vaasa, Ostrobothnia, Western and Central Finland

can be visited freely by walking along the trail


  1. Hi Henk, sort of makes me think of the Paul Bunyan figure in America...

  2. Hi Owen, Yes, the common theme might be folklore or fairy tales, like Bunyan is a mythological type, the lady with the kettle might be a person from a nordic fairy tale, although I do not know which one (Maybe Alberto Oliver has a clue).

  3. First of all, congratulations for another great post. Though Mr. Hevonkoski could be inspired in some myths and traditions, he mainly depicts common characters and situations of daily life. Certainly i haven´t ever heard of an specific story of a lady with a kettle. However, according to the ancient nordic ideals (maybe in the whole ancient world?), the wife should be the one intended to stay at home, taking care after the children and waiting for the tired husband to arrive, tired and hungry. To receive him with a warm dinner and a cup of coffe was wife´s obligation and duty, so the boiling kettle always ready to offer a restoring cup of infusion for the house´s man, should be interpreted as an atribute of abnegation and compromise. It is also a common feature in Sweden (as Vaasa were a place of strong Swedish influence) There are another Hevonkoski´s sculptures like "Savotan Sannin ja Lännen Lokarin kihlajaiset" (roughly translated as: the wedding of Länne "muddy" and Savo "Ferny") which describes a wedding between two curious characters, then again the maid holding a kettle. However, it is worth to research more a little bit more.
    Here 2 interesting links:

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  5. Hello Alberto Oliver,
    Thank you very much for the comment. Now it is clear for me that the lady with the kettle would not be a specific type from a fairy tale. Yes, it happened to be an ideal, not specific for nordic countries, to see women as the ones who would take care of providing warm meals and drinks to husband and children, the ketlle being kind of a universal symbol for this position. In general it can be noted that these outsider artists in their creations happen to reflect their view on and knowledge of the world as it came to them by experience, education and social influences. It would be interesting to compare the themes they use with the themes used by professional mainstream artists. I guess both have their specific affinities, under the influence of opinions that prevail in the social strata they belong to.
    Have a good weekend!

  6. http://www.cultureunplugged.com/storyteller/Klas_Fransberg#/myFilms