October 23, 2009

Ilmari Salminen, Finland Militäru Museum/Finland Military Museum

screenprint from the Erkki Pirtola video
(see documentation)

Believe it or not, but Finland had an outpost in international and interplanetary communications, located in the military museum in Petäjävesi and operated by Ilmari Salminen.

Life and works

Ilmari Salminen (1929-2008) was born in Helsinki, Finland. During world war II, at age 14, he was moved to the countryside, where he settled on the farm of an uncle in the community of Petäjävesi. After his uncle died in 1986, Salminen became the main tenant of the property.

In 1994, Salminen moved into a small, red painted cabin with some two rooms, in the woods of Metsäkulma, outside of Petäjävesi, that belonged to his friend Pekka Strömberg.

Salminen transformed this cabin into a decorated art environment. by covering the walls with all kinds of collages, combining photos of famous people with his own decorations, making illustrated inkjet prints of poems, etc.

This kind of creative activity earned him the nickname "the Andy Warhol of the woods".

picture courtesy of Gabi Schaffner

But Salminen's creative mind also focused upon transforming his cabin into kind of an outpost in the international and interplanetary communication. He constructed and decorated radio's (like the one in the next picture), he made cell phones and devices to make it possible to have contact not only with world leaders, but also with other realms in the galaxy by means of his own UFO station.

picture courtesy Esa Salldén, Radiomuseu, Finland

Salminen made his own banknotes and constructed military equipment, like guns

He liked to see his art environment as kind of a museum and was happy to show visitors around, playing the accordion. I am not sure what name he gave to the museum, because I get the impression he used a variety of names, including Finland Militäru Museum.

His work was represented in the 2005 exposition In another world in the Kiasma Museum in Helsinki.

Salminen passed away in 2008.

Salminen's artistic legacy

In 2009 the cabin was still extant, but it was closed for the public because of some repair work. I couldn't find information about the state of the property after 2009.

However, Salminen's artistic legacy, including a lot of collages, has been donated to the Kokkola ITE museum.

Salminen in relation with art environments

In 2015 this museum had an exposition about some Finnish outsider artists who abundantly decorated their home, among whom Ilmari Salminen. The picture below shows how he was featured.

picture by Minna Haveri

* Article on website ITE-taide
* A video on YouTube (uploaded November 2010, part of a film by Erkki Pirtola on Finnish outsider artists) has a portrait of Ilmari Salminen which starts at 1'52", Finnish spoken, some international and interplanetary communications are in English

first published October 2009, last revised August 2019

Ilmari Salminen
Finland Militäru Museum
Petäjävesi, Central Finland, Western and Central Finland 
closed for visits


  1. I hope you manage to get permission!.. how exciting! :-)

  2. Hello Dear Henk:
    Visiting after a while. Have been busy these days. I am also spending some time taking pictures. I haven´t had time even for updating my own blog so often. It is always nice to visit and discover another great post and of course, to say hello to you my friend. Everytime you post about Finnish outsiders, it grows in my mind the idea to one day take a photographic tour through all the places you have wrote about. My best regards to you.

  3. Hello Watercats, Well, it might take some time before I get an answer, if ever...
    Hello Alberto Oliver, Finland has many interesting outsider artists, some countries for some reason have more outsider environments then other countries, and Finland is one of them. Thanks for your commment.

  4. Hey Henk, sorry I've been so absent for too long... work has been hell lately... but am trying to catch up a little this week... This guy sounds like he was pretty "inspired", well, yeah, it would be cool if we had radios on which we could talk to other planets...