TIP OF THE DAY: Watch a short documentary by photo artist Sanna Kannisto about the creation of bird photos at the Hanko bird station.

Exuvia - sculpture

Sculptor couple Pekka and Teija Isorättya

The sculpture “Exuvia” by sculptors Pekka and Teija Isorättyä is located in the H Building of the Vaasa Central Hospital and depicts a common blue damselfly found in gulfs of seas and lakes. The Isorättyä couple got the idea for the sculpture on a hot summer morning while sailing on waters of the Northern Quark. A large group of turquoise common blue damselflies flew around their boat, like dancing pixies.

The works of the artist couple Teija ja Pekka and Isorättyä have compassion and humor

We are a sculptor couple and we were both born in Tornio in 1980. Currently, we work in Helsinki. In creating our art, we collaborate throughout the creative process. We choose which materials and techniques to use based on the location, subject and context of the work. We like to explore and learn new things with every work. Material selection supports the story of a work and create tension. Many of our sculptures include aspects of media art, bio art and environmental art, which we link with recycled materials, mechanical movement and robotics. Our art represents the variety of organic and inorganic lifeforms, and we aim to study the souls of different creatures, using empathetic humour. 

We started our artistic collaboration in 2006, with the final project of our degrees of Master of Art at Aalto University, in Helsinki. Our first museum exhibition was at the museum Ex Teresa Arte Actual in Mexico City in 2008, followed by exhibitions at the Diego Rivera Anahuacalli museum and Polyforum Siquieros in 2009. Me moved from Mexico to Berlin and established the art space Invalid Robot Factory, where activities continued until 2013. Then, we moved on to various artistic endeavors in marine environments around the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean and in Kobe, Japan. In 2019, we established a studio in Kamppi in Helsinki where we have created our large-scale sculptures in collaboration with our own studio team. 

We have been featured in various international galleries and museums, including Kobe Studios in Japan, Ierimonti Gallery in New York City and the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki. In 2017, we were selected as a candidate for the Ars Fennica prize. Our latest public sculptures include “Kojamo” (2021), a 15-meter-long and 5-meter-tall fish shape and “Bass string wings”, a memorial for Jyrki Kangas (2022) in the form of a 6-meter-tall bird-like shape that can be played.

Photos: Sami Pulkkinen

Making “Exuvia”

The theme of “Exuvia” is a biological phenomenon, the hatching of a damselfly larva. This transformation is also rich in symbolism of empowerment and resilience. 

The species depicted in the work is the common blue damselfly, that lives in the gulfs of seas and lakes. Unlike most other damselflies, the common blue damselfly often also flies above open waters. In fact, the idea for “Exuvia” came up while on sea. We were sailing on the waters of the Northern Quark and one hot summer day we woke up as if surrounded by dancing pixies. A large group of turquoise-coloured common blue damselflies flew around our boat. 

Making of "Exuvia".

Upon hatching, the damselfly larva climbs up a reed, emerging from the water and drying itself in the sun. Soon, the skin of the larva cracks from the top and the adult damselfly crawls out. It straightens its wings and prepares to fly, to start a new life. Its former body, the larva skin or exuvia stays behind as a small glass-like treasure, reminding of the wonders of the diversity of life. Exuviae of the common blue damselfly can be found in the coastal reeds of the Northern Quark. Most exuviae are found on stems of plants, fairly close to the water. 

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in Finnish
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