Solar Art at the Rauma Art Museum Finland

Introduction by Janne Koski. __________________________________

Human beings have always been obliged to find suitable tools to survive and to cope with their environment. Art, mythology and technology can be seen as such tools---helping humans survive and find solutions to the endless problems of life.

The Aurinko---Sun exhibition at the Rauma Art Museum in Rauma, Finland, presented different kinds of mythological, technological and artistic tools used by humans. This exhibition focused on the sun and its light, its energy and life-giving force, but also on the concept of light in a broader sense. The exhibition showed a great variety of works that utilize solar energy or the sun as important elements as well as documentation of various projects dealing with the sun or solar power.

The exhibition was opened by Finland's Minister of Education Olli-Pekka Heinonen and the exhibition's patron Madanjeet Singh, Special Advisor to the Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In his essay in the exhibition catalog, Singh tied together the mythological and technological benefits of the sun. The exhibition began during Midsummer Day, the ancient summer solstice festival and the sunniest part of the Finnish summer.

In the exhibition, mythological dimensions of the sun were presented in Helinä Rautavaara's manipulated documentary pictures of solar symbolism in various religious traditions of the world and in works of present-day artists, such as Sinikka Palonen and video artist Tamiko Thiel, who find inspiration in ancient art.

The sun's utilitarian function was represented in Jorma Ponkala's solar boat, presented as a model in the exhibition. The use of solar power in architecture and public art was presented in plans and documentation, such as those for a floating house of the future designed by Architecture students at the Helsinki University of Technology.

The astronomical curve in the environmental work by Antero Toikka and the oscillating paper spirals of Andromahi Kefalos both depicted the heavenly coordinates of our solar system's planetary orbits. The strange directions the use of energy can lead to were shown in Jacob Tue Larsen's solar cell-powered vacuum pump-driven waterhooka. Sun and its light are the source of all life on the earth, but light also destroys organic matter and therefore can be dangerous to living things. These contradictory aspects of the sun were studied in two works by Australian artist Allan Giddy.


The solar culture in all its diversity was represented in the exhibition Aurinko---Sun by: The Audio Ballerinas (Germany), Jens Brand (Germany), Bruno Erat (Finland), Jürgen Claus (Germany), Flash Light (U.S.A.), Allan Giddy (Australia), Lisa Johnston (U.S.A.), Susan Kaprov (U.S.A.), Andromahi Kefalos (Greece/ U.S.A.), Taina Kuusikoski (Finland), Olli Kuusisto (Finland), Jacob Tue Larsen (Denmark), Richard Lerman (U.S.A.), Antti Maasalo (Finland), Maris Multimedia, Olsons (U.S.A.), Sinikka Palonen (Finland), Joan Webster Price and Herbert Price (U.S.A.), Cynthia Pannucci (U.S.A.), Jorma Ponkala (Finland), Helinä Rautavaara (Finland), Katariina Rautiala, Pentti Raiski and Jun Kojima (Finland), Leni Schwendinger (U.S.A.), Tamiko Thiel (U.S.A.), Antero Toikka (Finland), Karin Widahl (Sweden), James W. Williams (U.S.A.), Jim Gasperini and Tennessee Rice Williams (U.S.A.), Jason White and Richard Wright (Great Britain). The exhibition was sponsored by Industrial Power Company, Neste, Technology Development Centre of Finland Tekes, SONY Finland, Nokia Display Products.

Janne Koski, Rauma Art Museum, Kuninkaankatu 37, FIN 26100 Finland.

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