Viljo Juusela

Orivesi (1933)

For several decades now, the wind has been swaying the heavy iron Horseman’s Flower in front of the Art Centre Leporanta. The flexible stem is made of sowing drill parts and the flowers of horseshoes, which come from a site on the shore of Lake Längelmävesi where horses were shod during the war. They were already rusty when Juusela dug them up from the ground, and he decided to keep the rusty hue in his flowers.

Vilho Juusela started making the sculpture in the early 1970s. For him, art-making is closely related to animals. In the series of sculptures, a man is with his horse, which depicts the last horse that Juusela had. A wagtail has a nest in the mouth of a crocodile-like creature near the shore. The piece is Dino, the middle part of which is made of an old pressure tank, and the tail used to be the spiral part of an old horse-drawn corn binder.

Juusela’s works of art combine fantastic subjects with agricultural tools and machines as well as gnarls found in nature. He says that he learnt how to weld so he could make his art. “I’ve done these for my own pleasure, but I’m happy that others like them, too. These are not for sale,” says Juusela.

Juusela bought the Leporanta farm at an auction in the early 1970s and set up an art centre on the site. In addition to Juusela’s own works, the exhibitions have also showcased art by numerous other artists.

Text and photos: Mikko Kallio

Videos about Vilho Juusela on the YouTube channel by the Association for Rural Culture and Education

Hevosmiehen kukka (Horseman’s Flower)

Hippa-hevosen muistolle (In Memory of Hippa the Horse)