October 03, 2009

Alpo Koivumäki, Alpon Savannilla/Alpo's Savanne



photo expo in Gaia-museum Denmark 2008,
website kunsten.nu

I wish I could show with a lot of pictures how this rhino comes along in his habitat on Alpo Koivumäki's farm in Kauhajoki, Finland.

Unfortunately a post is too static a medium, but here is a more dynamic presentation, a video by Erkki Pirtola (25'27", You Tube, uploaded oct 2014), recorded during various visits from 1995 on and very clearly showing Koivumäki's way of working (english subtitled).



Life and work 

Alpo Koivumäki (1939) was a farmer until in 1995 new regulations of the European Union with regard to agriculture implied that he had to stop farming, financially compensated by the Finnish government.

At age 56 he gave his life a new direction by beginning to create all kind of animals, using scrap material from the farm, like oil drums, old tires, parts of engines, whatever.

picture courtesy of Minna Haveri

Koivumäki depicted lions, crocodiles, snakes, rhino's, elephants, birds, you name it, all together a menagerie that has become known as Alpo's Savanne.

It is most impressive, in my opinion, that his animals look so unbelievable animated, although composed of a combination of scrap materials. Just an empty oil drum on two legs would represent a lively bird.

overview of part of the art environment
picture (2018) from Ite-amanuenssi Elina Vuorimies' FB-page

Expositions

Alpo Koivumäki's work has not remained unobserved. In recent years he has been invited to show his work on outsider art expositions, not only in Finland, but also abroad, for example in the United Kingdom (London), in Hungary (Budapest), in Denmark (Gaia Museum) and in Germany (Neuhardenberg Palace).

   
 picture courtesy of oobio, Helsinki Times

The picture above shows a sculpture by Koivumäki, as exposed in the garden of the Gallen-Kallela Museum, Espoo, Finland (exposition A Kalevala Mindscape, sept 2010 - jan 2011).

Artist in residence

Several times Koivumäki was invited to be an artist in residence and create an animal on spot. 

In june 2004 he stayed at the La Fabuloserie museum (Dicy, France), where he made an elk.

the elk in la Fabuloserie
picture (may 2014) by Raija Kallioinen


He also has made sculptures for the Thurgau Kunstmuseum (Switzerland). 

the horse 
picture courtesy of the Thurgau Museum

In 2009 he made a horse, in 2011 a female bearThis project was annex to an exhibition the museum had from January 23, 2011 until May 15, 2011, entitled Weltensammler, outsider art from the private collection of  Korine and Max Amman.

Reorganization of the site in June 2018

In the course of the month of June 2018, the site has been reorganized, in such a way that the sculptures are shown more coherently on a Piazza. Volunteers helped to realize this project, which officially was opened on June 30, 2018.

Documentation, more pictures 
* note and pictures on the ITEnet website 
* article by Minna Haveri on SPACES website (published 2012)
* post (in english) on weblog Sacred Mischief august 2013
* pictures on Instagram

first published oct 2009, last revised June 2018
  
Alpo Koivumäki 
Alpon Savannilla
Topeeka 15
61800 Kauhajoki, Southern Ostrobothia, Western and Central Finland
can be visited in summer

3 comments:

  1. Hi Henk, these creations are simply fabulous, can't believe how real they look ! We are so very lucky to have you tracking down all these sites for us which otherwise we might never have come across... thank you... !

    ReplyDelete
  2. My pleasure too, Owen. I feel lucky myself to make these discoveries. Have a good weekend.

    ReplyDelete