Aune Kinnunen

Viitasaari (1931–2021)

Before she started to make environmental art, Aune Kinnunen worked as a farmer in central Finland. Now her garden is filled with works that radiate equality, goodwill and a longing for beauty.

Her letterbox is made out of milk churns and hay poles, and in her garden old farm tools are flourishing among real plants. She has also produced reliefs of hessian and clay depicting old working practices like carrying water, washing the laundry, making butter, and forest work. The artist’s first cow has its own statue; its moss skin changes from brown to green with the weather.

Kinnunen is an exceptional figure among Finnish ITE artists. Large environmental works are usually created by men, whereas women’s creativity is mainly restricted to the sphere of the home. Kinnunen, however, has occupied both places; her house is beautifully decorated with inventive knit work and experimental mixtures of materials, but in the garden her themes range from farm life to global questions of human rights. One of her main works is a temple that shelters two human figures; the white figure sleeps on the ground, whereas the dark one has been raised to sleep on a bench. This large outdoor environment is dedicated to the equality of humankind.

Text: Elina Vuorimies & Raija Kallioinen. Translation: Kirsti Nurmela-Knox. Photos: Minna Haveri.