April 19, 2024

Teijo Monni & Pertti Riikonen, Middle of Nowhere Taidepuisto / Middle of Nowhere Art park

pictures published here in agreement
with Middle of Nowhere

In a wooded area in the village Kaukanen in Finland, 50 km north of Helsinki, work is currently underway on the design of a park exposing outsider art (ITE-art in Finnish). This park, new in the field of Finnish art environments, will be officially opened on June 29, 2024.

The initiators

It is a project undertaken by two entrepreneurs,  Teijo Monni who was a wholesaler of office supplies for over twenty years and Pertti Riikonen, who was an electrician by training and had a business in that field.

Inspired by the publications of the Finnish organization Maaseudun Sivistysliitto (Rural Culture Association) that promotes ITE art in Finland, they visited art environments and studios in that field to take photos and then it happened that they gradually became great enthusiasts of this form of art.

Creating an art park

Their enthusiasm went so far that they decided to quit their current jobs and start working on the realization of a park where ITE art would be exposed.

A daring undertaking indeed. The two initiators also thought so .....

Anyway, they bought a wooded site of two hectares near Kaukasten and began working on this project in November 2022. 

The site included an old, abandoned farmhouse and a barn, that needed to be renovated. But these buildings also included many old items that could be used. There is also a beautiful apple orchard.

Now, almost a year and a half after the start of the project, the park is beginning to take the shape that the two initiators had in mind. The existing accommodations have been renovated and made suitable to receive visitors, provide refreshments, repairing bicycles and so on.

Paths have been laid out, along which visitors can take a walk to take a look at.....well, that is the most surprising happening of the past period:.....various ITE artists have contributed in many ways to enriching the park with sculptures and other creations, both for permanent placement in the park and for contributions to intended stand-alone exhibitions.

Meanwhile, the park already has a large number of sculptures. For example, the family of ITE artist Pekka Lampinen donated sculptures and other work to the park after his death, a gesture based on the expectation that they will be better maintained in the park then in their own environment.

The second photo from the top shows an airplane painted in many colors, a creation by ITE-artist Paula Huhtanen.

The three-time chainsaw champion Juha Käkelä contributed some image-defining works, namely Big Foot and Green Man.

Big Foot, pictured above, now accompanies the large Middle of Nowhere nameplate seen in the photo at the very top.

The Green Man, pictured above Big Foot, is a large pine that grew on the property and had to be felled. This tree had a rare three-armed top and, after being processed by Käkelä , is now exhibited in an inverted position as a three-meter-high Green Man with a triple beard. 

The Green Man, usually depicted with a face made of leaves and the like, is a legendary creature, often seen as a symbol of rebirth or the dawn of spring.

The park now has a collection of almost a hundred sculptures and other creations, made by about twenty artists. They are partly located in the vicinity of the main building where refreshments are available, and partly along the recently constructed walking path as shown in the photo above.

Photos of the creations can also be seen on the Facebook site of the art park, but given the atmosphere provided by the wooded area, there is a lot to be said for seeing the creations in reality

The opening season will feature all artists who have so far been nominated for ITE artist of the year. They are presented on the park's website

* Article (September 2023) in Finnish journal Helsingin Uutiset

* Video (December 2020, YouTube, 1'54") by Middle of Nowhere

Teijo Monni and Pertti Riikonen
Middle of Nowhere Art park
Koskenmaantie 187,
village of Kaukaasa, part of Hyvinkää, region Uusimaa, Finland
park will be open for the public from June 29, 2024

No comments:

Post a Comment