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Turku, 16th April 2009 – a workday

Early this beautiful sunny morning we take the bus 53 with Reino to go to Jan Erik’s Leaf House. With this house the artist fulfilled a lifelong dream of his. He’s been working on the project “Leaf House”, a house build with a ground plan in the shape of a leave, for 10 years now. The city of Turku gave him a plot of land in a corner of a park. They didn’t want to have such a strange building within their city limits. The building is almost completed now. There are practically no straight walls, all details are made by hand and all shapes inspired by nature. Jan Erik invites other artists to install their work in the house as well. A British artist, for example, put red bench-sculptures in the garden for people to sit on. Art students from the academy are building a walk-in birdhouse in the adjacent forest, using yellow planks of wood. The interior of the house is equally impressive. One can’t find any straight lines apart from the artful green light bars that give the impression of daylight during the long winters. The house is eco friendly and heated with geothermal energy.
By now the house has become an attraction all over Finland. As we leave, the next bus full of art-history students arrives. The project, which started as a crazy idea, has become a major architectural attraction for a whole country.

Hanna Varis, a local artist, picks us up in her uncle’s car and shows us around her 2 studios and her exhibition project at the castle of Turku. The Albertina in Vienna bought some of her graphics. She talks a lot about her life and how she manages as an artist.

Today we also meet a representative of the city’s cultural office to talk about our project for 2011. She welcomes us benevolently and we have a productive conversation.

After that we go to the Gallery Titanik for a presentation of our travel art project. Luise and Erika set up the projector and the screen, Aurelia stages her project “Reaching Suomi” and Inge installs her work from the project “Erden”. We make the presentation using videos, photos and travel reports. The audience shows a very encouraging interest in our work. We welcome a very special guest, Heli Kanerva, the deputy director of the Political Department for Security Policy and Crisis Management from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. She arrives with her husband and both listen to the presentation with a lot of curiosity. She herself is a frequent traveler.

Luise points out the present situation of artist and arranges the presentation in the form of a performance.

After a lot of positive feedback we go to the Bremer, a local student’s pub, where we continue our interesting conversations with Reino, Peter, Antony, Hannah and other artists.

Hannah offers her car to us for tomorrow, when we are planning to go to one of the islands to get an impression of the archipelagos. There are no boats yet because of the ice.

Turku – Part 3
Turku – Part 4

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