When the city wanted to renew the Vähätori Square, an art fence was commissioned from artist Saara Ekström (b.1965). The purpose of the fence was to separate the Square from the busy Linnankatu. Kertosäe (Refrain) is 14 metres long and acts as a border for the atmospheric area in front of the Old City Library.
The sculpture was commissioned by the city’s real estate service, and it is made from durable corten steel. The material is heavy and industrial, but the symmetrical rose ornaments piercing the steel plate give the sculpture a delicate overall look.
Turun sotaveteraanien muistomerkki (Turku War Veterans’ Statue) by Aarne Ehojoki (1913-1998) was acquired through the cooperation between Finnish war veteran organisations. The sculpture was financed through a nationwide fundraising campaign in 1992 and unveiled the same year.
The environmental artwork by Ger C. Bout (b.1950), made from galvanised steel wire mesh, is a three-dimensional model representing a traditional Finnish wooden house. With this sculpture, the artist wanted to explore the basic concepts of space and architecture. This transparent two-room “granny cabin” is the embodiment of the idea of small scale architecture. The sculpture is located in the courtyard of the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova Museum, thus lying right on top of Old Turku.
The sculpture Carro Celeste (”Heavenly carriage”) by Italian artist Mariella Bettineschi is connected to traditions of Pop art and Constructivism. The cobalt blue carriage creates a surrealistic illusion of a moving vehicle, rolling down the hill. In reality, this sculpture with wheels is firmly attached to the ground with invisible support structures.
The bronze sculpture Europe donated to the City of Turku by Dutch artist Jits Bakker (1937-2014) was inspired by Greek mythology. Zeus fell in love with Europe, who was the daughter of a king. In order to get Europe, Zeus turned himself into a bull and took the beautiful woman to the island of Crete. This sculpture was unveiled on 11 June 2008.
Life Cycle by Alice Baillaud (b.1975) was designed specifically for the courtyard of Kaskenlinna hospital. This sculpture reflects the cycle of life through the flowerbeds that change throughout the year and the human silhouettes depicting different stages of life. These silhouettes include a mother carrying her child, a young man, and an elderly couple looking tenderly at each other. One side of the silhouettes is made of corten steel and the other is mirrored.
The bronze town map relief, designed by Bruno Aspelin (1870-1941), called Turun Tuomiokirkon kortteli v. 1756 (The Turku Cathedral Block in 1756) was unveiled in 1930. The sculpture was erected by the G.A. Petrelius donation fund, and it is one of the many monuments in the parks surrounding the Cathedral. The sculpture is also known as “The old cathedral block in 1756”.
Turku received the Lenin sculpture from its twin city Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1977. There were many sculptures of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, a.k.a. Lenin, erected in cities across the Soviet Union. However, Lenin sculptures can also be found in countries that were never a part of the Soviet Union.
Jan-Erik Andersson’s (b.1954) three-part environmental artwork animates the Theatre Bridge in Turku. The work is a storylike depiction of the meeting between the Brownie of the Turku Castle and Valpuri Innamaa. The artwork was acquired as part of the environmental art project of the Pro Cultura Foundation.
The children in Anja Aho’s (1931-1992) bronze sculpture Lapset (Children) sit on their knees by the fountain on Yliopistonkatu. In 1957 Aho won a sculpting invitational by the company Rakennus Oy and its managing director Uno Pikarla. Rakennus Oy donated the sculpture to the City of Turku, and in 1959 it was erected by the fountain on the square of the housing cooperative Kasinonkulma.
Victor Westerholm (1860-1919) was the first curator of the Turku Art Museum and a director at the Turku Art School. Wäinö Aaltonen studied painting under Westerholm in 1910-1915. Westerholm had a great influence on the development of the Turku Art School and of the Finnish arts education.
The memorial herm of Westerholm by Aaltonen is erected in front of the Turku Art Museum. A herm is a sculpture with a bust or a head placed on top of a square column.
The sculpture Myrsky (Storm) stands on the terrace of the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art. It depicts a woman striding forward, her hair and skirt blowing in the wind. The sculpture is a second mould of the memorial in Pori for the victims of the sunken torpedo boat S2 (1925). Finland’s Ministry of Defence commissioned the memorial from Aaltonen in 1928. Myrsky is the most emotionally tragic of the artist’s monuments.
Professor Juhani Pallasmaa (b.1936) designed the Muistijälki (Memory trace) piece in honour of the centennial of the birth of Wäinö Aaltonen (1894-1966). This work consists of the sculpture Muusa (Muse) by Aaltonen and a steel structure indicating the site of Aaltonen’s former workshop. Muusa was unveiled on 30 May 1994 as part of Pallasmaa’s piece.
Turun Lilja (The Lily of Turku) by Wäinö Aaltonen (1894-1966) stands in Runeberg Park next to the Aura Bridge. It was the first outdoor sculpture acquired by the City of Turku. This modernist sculpture was Aaltonen’s third monument, and it was realised in granite in the stoneworks of J.E. Forsman in Helsinki. The sculpture was completed in 1924-1926 and unveiled in 1928.
The two riders in this sculpture placed in front of the Turku Concert Hall symbolise the friendship between Turku and Gothenburg, who have been twin cities since 1946.
The series Työ ja tulevaisuus (Work and future) by Wäinö Aaltonen (1894-1966) includes five sculptures designed for the Parliament chamber: Henkinen työ, Tulevaisuus, Raivaaja, Usko ja Sadonkorjaaja (Intellectual Work, Future, Settler, Faith and Harvester). These were the winning sculptures of a competition, and they represent the ideals of the people of a young nation.
The head of Aleksis Kivi sculpted by Wäinö Aaltonen (1894-1966) and placed in front of the Turku City Theatre is connected to the memorial of Kivi in the Railway Square in Helsinki. The memorial was commissioned from Aaltonen after competitions in 1927-1928 and 1930. There were no photographs of Kivi, so the statue is modelled after drawings made beside the writer’s deathbed. Aaltonen’s design is an idealization of the features of a writer who was reflective and suffered for his art.
Outdoor sculptures and environmental art in Turku
Nearly hundred outdoor sculptures and works of environmental art belonging to the Turku City Art Collection decorate Turku’s cityscape. In addition to traditional monuments and representative sculptures, these works of art include participatory modern art and temporary works.