Thursday, April 22, 2010

ARTIST RESEARCH: Alfredo Jaar (April 2010)

In Utö with Alfredo      photo by Lotta Petronella

Winter was turning to Spring, when Alfredo came over on his first visit. After a four hours-long drive from Helsinki airport we arrived in a grey and rainy archipelago of in-between seasons. 
The first night was spent on the island of Korpo, in Hotel Nestor. Our hosts, artist Pia Rousku (another participant in CAA) and designer Frank Hellgren, together with the artist Renja Leino (also in CAA) greated us and gave us a sense of the contradictions prevalent here –  working with global issues, the latest technologies and actively developing cultural life in the peace of this now near-desolate landscape.

Heading back to Korpo through the icy sea           photo Lotta Petronella

The next day we took a four-hour boat ride to the island of Utö, the most southern inhabited island in Finland, a base for pilots, lighthouse keepers, custom officials and soldiers since the 17th century. The ice on the sea was melting and it was rather tricky to travel around the islands or even cross small stretches of water. 

We stayed in an army base turned hotel. In the evening we enjoyed a typical archipelago dinner of pickled herrings and white fish at the home of our host, Hanna Kovanen (a tourist operator, guide and contemporary lighthouse keeper) and her mother, Solveig Kovanen with guests Ari Saari, the head of pilots (Finnpilots), and the local school teacher Brita Willström.  

The sun was rising as we left Utö at 5.45 on Monday morning (the boat scheduled so early in order to take one boy to school in Korpo after the weekend at home in Aspö). 
In the end of the day we returned to Korpo for lunch out in the sun at the artist Antonia Ringboms (in CAA) home. 

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