Haihara’s Paras – The Figures of Sculpture

One of the fey creatures in vanishing Finnish folklore is the para, a kind of tutelary elf whose task was to help his owner. Paras were powerful and frightening spirits, and they had a close relationship with their own-ers. The duty of a para was to increase the wealth and protect the well-being of his owner. Today Haihara Manor is no longer dependent on cat-tle with good milk yields or plentiful harvests. Instead, its living comes from art and culture. What are Haihara’s paras like today?

Reetta Gröhn-Soininen, Kaisaleena Halinen, Matias Karsikas, Ilai Elias Lehto, Taneli Rautiainen, Riku Riippa, Teemu Salonen, Joakim Seder-holm, Marianne Siri and Jaakko Tornberg all work with sculpture. The curator of Haihara Art Centre Krister Gråhn has assembled in the halls of the manor a feast of works presenting different ways of approaching the human form, figures and their substance.

The exhibition environment of Haihara Manor brings out another kind of temporal layer for the exhibited works. Our recent history is closely pre-sent, but at the same time so inaccessible.

Reetta Gröhn-Soininen (from Joensuu) uses black gallows humour, tragicomedy and self-mockery to express her humility before the subjects she deals with. She sculpts a feeling that is expressed not only in the face but in the whole being of the sculpture.

Kaisaleena Halinen (from Espoo) approaches her subjects with respect for the tradi-tions of sculpture, but in reverse order: from the inside out. What is going on beneath the surface of the sculpture? Content is truly of the essence in Halinen’s works.

Matias Karsikas (from Helsinki) combines ceramics, wood and glass with the same kind of seamless connectivity as man’s existence in nature: they belong together, but there also exist certain conflicts between them.

llai Elias Lehto (from Tampere) creates sculptures that are soft and pliable. They are based to a great extent on used materials. However, it’s not only materials that Lehto recycles but also ideas: Established concepts are not just thrown away but rather re-worked into new ones.

Taneli Rautiainen (from Helsinki) works in a way that is often based on light and sound, but one can also claim that one of his most important materials is space. He does not create space just through a feeling of spaciousness or congestion; rather, it is a matter of how a person is situated in the spaces that he or she creates.

Riku Riippa (from Kälviä) sculpts time and timelessness. His figures have a powerful presence, but it is difficult to decide whether they are present in the here and now or in the past. Riippa’s figures evoke respect, but they also emanate the future.

Teemu Salonen (from Auttoinen) has a working method that is a contradictory mix-ture of careful studiousness and spur-of-the-moment impulse. The human form is conspicuous by its absence in his works, but their references to culture and cultures imply that the human form has been present.

Joakim Sederholm (from Porvoo) sculpts people and humanity. His idiom is based on classical anatomy, but it recognises that anatomy includes all kinds of variants, and that the human being is as individual as his or her fingerprint.

Marianne Siri (from Lahti) moulds clay by hand. Her realism is finished, and perhaps a little bit overwhelming. Perseverance, patience and surpassing herself are Siri’s mate-rials just like clay and plaster – differentiating between what is crafted by hand and what is machine-made.  

Jaakko Tornberg (from Helsinki) and junk, rubbish, refuse and rubble belong together. His works are types formed out of endless details. It takes time to look at them, and it is worth spending the time. What is important and of value?

Krister Gråhn (from Mänttä) is an artist who prefers to take a backstage role – that of a producer, a technician, an editor or a curator. He enjoys working with numerous ex-cellent artists and innumerable outstanding works of art. In Gråhn’s mind, contempo-rary art is comparable to the folklore from which the paras emanated. Art, too, can cast spells, enchant or curse a person’s living domain and explain events that would otherwise be inexplicable.

The exhibition is a production of the Public Cultural Services of the City of Tampere. The aim of the Public Cultural Services, on behalf of its services relating to exhibitions, is to spread knowledge of the phenomena in visual arts, and to offer for the Tampere region a diverse and high-level exhibition program.

Haihara’s Paras – The Figures of Sculpture

Haihara Manor
Haiharankatu 30
33710 Tampere

Open: Tue–Sun 12 Noon - 6 PM., Free Admission

Further information

Nuutti Päällysaho
Cultural Producer
Text: Krister Gråhn
Photos: Riku Riippa
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