October 21, 2010

Tapio Autio, Ateljee Autio/Atelier Autio

this picture courtesy of Sophie Lepetit
from her weblog
On the southwestern shore of Lake Lappajärvi in Finland, in the community of Ylipää, there is a creative complex which comprises a sculpture park, a cave with over fifty rock paintings, a troll's castle and a church.

Life and works

This complex was established in his free time by police officer Tapio Autio (b. 1956).

this picture and the next three courtesy of Willie Lahti

He began his creative activities in the mid 1980s, making sculptures from concrete he displayed in the garden around his house.

These sculptures represented all kind of animals and personalities, like Adam and Eve. His portrayal of biblical couple might rank as the largest concrete sculpture by an outsider artist in Finland.

In 1995 in an area at some distance of his home Autio began constructing two specific buildings, a castle and a church.

The exterior of the castle has troll-like sculptures, so this building is also referred to as Troll Castle. The interior of the castle, however, has decorations inspired by the Kalevala

The decorations in the church have a biblical connotation.

The two interiors are kind of dualistic. The castle represents the dark side of our life, wild, pagan, evil..... the church represents the good, christian, civilized side. This dualism of powers reigns human life, a battle between good and evil.. For Autio this means that during life, one has to try to find one's deepest self, some Christianity, some paganism.

sculptures at the castle

When Autio shows visitors around, he will wear a white dress when visiting the castle, in the church it will be a black one. ....dualism....

From the spot where church and castle are located one will have a nice look on the surrounding landscape, a view which will be even nicer from the top of a 16 m high tower constructed by Autio, where one has a view upon the nearby lake.

In the cave, paintings on the wall -"rock paintings" one could say- depict scenes and themes from the Kalevala, so of course this work has been featured in an exposition in Espoo, Finland (2010/11), dedicated to the influence of the Kalevala upon outsider artists in Finland.

The site can be visited by the public in the summer months. The church is available for marriage ceremonies.

In 2016 Autio retired from his job with the police, where he had worked for over thirty years.

* A series of photos (2018) by Sophie Lepetit on her weblog, here (Chapel), here (various subjects) and here (also various subjects)
* The official Ateljee Autio website (also in English), with photo galleries and info for visitors
* Article on the ITE-taide website  
* Article (August 2016) in Finnish journal Yle Uutiset

* Video on YouTube (June 2020, 0'41")

first published October 2010, last revised March 2021

Tapio Autio
Ateljee Autio
Virsulantie 126
62600 Lappajärvi, Southern Ostrobothnia, Western and Central Finland
open june 1st - august 31, 10 - 18 hrs

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