Saturday art blogging: public art in Turku

by Eszter Hargittai on November 10, 2018

I love public art. I love stumbling upon sculptures while walking around in a city. I only got to spend about 36 hours in Turku, Finland and most of it was rather dark (and/or foggy) plus I was inside for my talk and meals for a good chunk of the time, but I still got to experience some surprises. Pictured to the right is Posankka, a cross between a pig and a duck, that its artist Alvar Gullichsen apparently created as a commentary on genetically-modified organisms. I spotted it across the highway as I was walking around the University of Turku and had to get closer to investigate. It looked cute from afar, not so much from closer. It seems to elicit a lot of sentiments in people and now greets visitors to Turku as they enter the city. (Originally it floated on water.)

This was not the creepiest piece I saw in Turku, not to suggest that I usually measure sculptures by the amount of creepiness they elicit. That just happened to come up here a couple of times. The little girl to the left wins that award from me. It reminds me of something, but I can’t put my finger on it and online searches didn’t help. I’m more of a fan of other pieces I saw around town. But not being a fan does not mean I don’t enjoy stumbling upon a piece. As I noted, I get a kick out of being surprised by such works when I explore a city. What’s some of the more unusual public art you’ve seen? I’d love to see examples if you can point to them.

For more on what public art I found walking the streets of Turku, click here.



Alan White 11.11.18 at 3:49 am

I love this series Eszter.


Eszter Hargittai 11.11.18 at 9:36 am

Thanks, Alan! I wanted CT to have more art posts and also wanted to write more about art.


Ike 11.11.18 at 3:48 pm

The sculpture of the little girl is part of a four-sculpture instalment by Kari-Petteri Kakko called “Tähtiin tähyävät” (“Those who gaze at the stars”). There’s more information and pictures availablehere, although it’s possible that the page is available only in Finnish.


Eszter Hargittai 11.11.18 at 4:06 pm

Thank you, Ike, that’s very helpful! I was able to translate the page. I like the theme of looking at the stars. Indeed, it encourages exactly what I appreciate about public art: to stop for a moment and contemplate your surroundings differently than you would have otherwise.

I looked up more information about the artist and I doubt I would have come across his work before so I still don’t know what it reminds me of.


William S Berry 11.14.18 at 6:35 pm

It reminds me of something, but I can’t put my finger on it

Gollum trying to convince Frodo of his love and loyalty (minutes after trying to murder him)?

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