August 20, 2009

Juha Vanhanen, Armohuvilla/Villa of Grace


picture courtesy of Minna Haveri

Making white painted creative structures by using parts of agricultural and other machines, Juha Vanhanen (1957) from Finland began this project when he got kind of a religious vision, which told him that recycling old materials and presenting them could be a good factor in evangelizing christian belief.

Recycling, art, evangelizing, these three have guided Vanhanen in making his constructions. I do not know when he started this, but obviously he already has been doing this for many years. He has some reputation in Finland and his creations have been exposed in a number of expositions (like next picture is from an outdoor exposition of finnish sculptures)


His white painted creations and structures are displayed around the house  in Myllymaki where he currently lives, together with a collection of Mercedes automobiles.

Mercedes originally is a spanish name, referring to the Virgin Mary, Maria de las Mercedes or Mother of Mercies. In Finnish mercy or grace is armo and so this environment is called armohuvilla (villa of grace).

So far I couldn't trace pictures of the site around his place of living.

But I came along some other pictures, such as the next one of a creation made by Juha Vanhanen, that is not part of the environment around his house. It is an installation in Sweden that shows white painted plowshares, meaning souls that fly to heaven.


this picture (october 2005) courtesy of Mats Karlsson

This creation is situated on a field in Västerkvarn, in the surroundings of the city of Halstahammer (on the road from Strömsholm to Kolbäck), where Vanhanen happened to live for some time. The installation is a gift by Vanhanen to the people of Halstahammer.

There is a comparable one, exposed in Finland, that can be seen on the premises of the Finnish folk art museum in the community of Kaustinen.

picture from the hungarian website csatolna egyesület

Juha Vanhanen
Armohuvilla
Myllymäki, Finland

4 comments:

  1. Dear Henk, this is one of the most extraordinary and pure examples of an Outsider Environment. what more elements do we need in order to considering him in such that way? In first place, the materials used, industrial waste, agricultural machines, in second place, the intention of the artist, to use the art for spreading his spiritual and moral ideology (isn´t it Hieronymus Bosch´s intention after all?) and not for figuring in a snob gallery claiming for aplauses and flashes. The instalation of the plowshares is superb. As a matter of fact, it needs no an explanation for understanding its feeling, a feeling of freedom, liberation and detachment, detachment from prision, after all, since some religious points of view, soul inhabits in nothing but a prision of flesh.

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  2. I completely agree with you, Alberto Oliver. Especially the installation with the white plowshares is unbelievable pure. An artist eye is needed to see what the effect can be of arranging and painting machinery items in this way. No words are necessary to understand what the installation is about...

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  3. The pkowshares are amazing. His motiviation is very like that of the late Howard Finster in Athens, Georgia.

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  4. These creations really are amazing Henk, you've done it again... finding the extraordinary, and presenting it beautifully for us.

    For me these plowshares soaring up into the air remind me of the flocks of snow geese that would take off from the water in a game reserve area of marshland in New Jersey where my grandparents lived. The snow geese would stop to rest there while migrating in the Fall and Spring to or from Canada. Very good memories there...

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