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Steel profile made by SSAB Toijala in artwork in Kilpisjärvi, Finland
November 18, 2021 13:53 CET 6 min read
Anssi Pulkkinen and Nestori Syrjälä’s work Ylösalasalasylös (Upside down downside up) won a public art competition held in 2019 by the Finnish State Art Commission, Lapland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre, Finnish Customs) and Senate Properties. A guard rail made at SSAB Toijala was used in the artwork, which was revealed at the customs post in Kilpisjärvi on the Finnish-Norwegian border in June 2021. The work is 13 meters high and 28 meters wide and refers, among other things, to the forms of the earth’s surface.
“The work enjoys a unique location at the intersection of many border lines. The visual starting point is a man-made shape that when bent resembles the shapes of nature,” says Anssi Pulkkinen.
“The scale of this work worked well, it looks large from close up but blends in well with the landscape,” says Nestori Syrjälä.
“When our entry to the competition was picked as the winner, we made a new scale model and the final shape. In autumn 2019, we agreed cooperation with SSAB Toijala,” Anssi Pulkkinen says.
“When there were suitable gaps in production during the winter, we used the drawings made on the basis of the artists’ scale model to bend pieces of guard rails. This bending differs greatly from our normal bending work. Lengths of the rail were bent into parts very close to the required shape for the work. After this, Anssi and Nestori then worked on the lengths more themselves,” says Petri Koivula, Works Manager at SSAB Toijala.
The foundations for the work were made in Kilpisjärvi back in autumn 2020. Challenging Nordic weather conditions meant a wait until summer 2021, when the work was completed, for it to be erected.
“Installation work took seven days. A total of 100 meters of guard rail were used for the work in two different thicknesses in profile lengths of around three and four meters and attached to posts,” Anssi Pulkkinen says.
“Before this work, I had no experience of using steel in artworks. Steel has good weather resistance, which means the site of the work influenced the choice of material,” Nestori Syrjälä says.