the entire park was a monument to the memory of his young body
September 22, 2019 3:28 PM   Subscribe

Veijo Rönkkönen was a recluse who spent his days between the paper mill where he worked for 41 years, and his farm, tucked away in a Finnish forest. By all accounts, he didn’t like to talk to people, and he never took an art lesson in his life. But by the time of his death in 2010, Rönkkönen had covered his land with around 550 sculptures. Nearly all of them depicted human figures: people of all ages and ethnicities, frozen in moments of play, athleticism, and even agony.
posted by cardioid (27 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is astonishing and beautiful and I wish there were a fuckton more photos because WOW!
posted by hippybear at 3:36 PM on September 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


Another wonderful, weird, sad "outsider art" story. Love these.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 3:51 PM on September 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Whoa. This are incredible. Thanks for posting this.

There's a few videos as well:


Parikkalan patsaspuisto - Sculpture Park Veijo Rönkkönen


ITE Veijo Rönkkönen Patsaspuiston avajaiset (Opening of the Rönkkönen Statue Park)

From ITE Art:

ITE art is Finnish contemporary folk art. The acronym ITE comes from the Finnish words ‘itse tehty elämä’, i.e. self-made life. ITE is art which is dependent on its maker’s environment and experience; it is a way to live a good life that emphasises aesthetic values.

They have a whole list of ITE artists, along with photos of their work here.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:55 PM on September 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Wow incredible, love outsider art like this! Many more pictures on the Flickr page used in the article.
posted by drinkyclown at 3:57 PM on September 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


Wow!
Some of these sound disturbing or uncanny:
visitors... flock to the site to explore the property’s eerie landscape, where concrete figures perch along dirt roads, balance in yoga poses, and stand frozen in dark corners across the forest. Their gazes range from intent to vacant, and their expressions from ecstatic to aggressive. Some have mouths filled with real human teeth, while speakers buried inside their bodies emit incomprehensible sounds. Others are blanketed in green moss, or sprout flowers from their stomachs.
posted by doctornemo at 3:58 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


But where'd he get the teeth though
posted by potrzebie at 4:05 PM on September 22, 2019 [29 favorites]


At night, they dance!
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:07 PM on September 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


I just finished reading The Cheese and the Worms (about a late-medieval miller who created his own strange and wonderful personal theology), and this post just reinforces something I felt regularly throughout the read - there are no "ordinary" or "boring" people. There are just people no one is paying attention to.
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:09 PM on September 22, 2019 [12 favorites]


From drinkyclown's link...they take on a different...feel, I guess you'd call it, in the snow.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:14 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Sort of a 3D Vivian Girls...
posted by jim in austin at 4:23 PM on September 22, 2019


> But where'd he get the teeth though.

I honestly think I'm better off not knowing.
posted by cardioid at 5:06 PM on September 22, 2019


Except for the teeth, his work seems less disturbing than Henry Darger's.
posted by Bee'sWing at 6:14 PM on September 22, 2019


Cool! Love shit like this. Reminds me of the Midlothian Screaming Heads.
posted by rodlymight at 6:32 PM on September 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Are we sure this isn't some stealth ad campaign for an A24 movie?
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 6:37 PM on September 22, 2019


Metafilter: This site is not marked but is hard to miss the 20 foot high screaming heads.
posted by zamboni at 6:47 PM on September 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


WTF, three people in this thread want to know about the teeth, but NO journalists, who are supposed to excel at asking questions, have asked that question?
posted by fnerg at 7:05 PM on September 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


According to this, visitors donate dentures:

https://vsuete.com/creepy-sculptures-human-teeth/

:/
posted by fnerg at 7:08 PM on September 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


Wow, as others have said, I wish there were more photos. Thanks for the links.

It sort of reminds me of this weird tourist stop in BC called The Enchanted Forest. It's right outside of Revelstoke, and it's filled with handmade concrete sculptures of fairy tale figures. It's part lovely and part creepy, and we go every chance we get.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:17 PM on September 22, 2019


Fascinating during the day, freaky during the night!
posted by oceanjesse at 8:51 PM on September 22, 2019


Fascinating during the day, freaky during the night!

Same.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:07 AM on September 23, 2019 [10 favorites]


Wish there was some info on his process. Was he making rebar or wireframe skeletons to add concrete too or is it all solid?
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:15 AM on September 23, 2019


Huh, the Midlothian screaming heads castle brought back something I hadn't thought about for decades: for years and years there were a couple of cons in Northern Virginia... maybe in Crystal City? whose avowed purpose was to support the building of the conrunner's castle. One was Evecon (on New Year's Eve) and the other maybe... Castlecon? This was the 1980s I think, or maybe the early 1990s. I wonder what happened to the castle.

(I only attended one in passing, but my sole memory was a couple getting married, the woman in gorgeous actual cloth of gold, or at least cloth with gold thread.)
posted by tavella at 9:18 AM on September 23, 2019


maybe not quite as striking as the sculpture forest, but if this kind of thing is your thing, I recommend looking into another Finnish reclusive artist, Reidar Särestöniemi – the museum named after him is his old homestead in the middle of the Lappish forest (as I recall) and his paintings had a rather arresting aesthetic.
posted by keltanen at 9:47 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of Tove Jansson's The Summer Book.
posted by elizilla at 9:49 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of a place in Mie, Japan, I stumbled upon where an artist had spent years and years creating sculptures and designs out of ceramics. On the one hand I wish there were more of these kinds of projects around but on the other someone down the street has done some things to their backyard and I am glad I don't have to walk by it at night because it is creepy.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:17 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Midlothian Screaming Heads

Hello, new band name.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:49 PM on September 23, 2019


I just finished reading The Cheese and the Worms...

Ah, Mennochio -- yes, that Carlo Ginzburg is some writer.
posted by y2karl at 6:06 PM on September 23, 2019


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