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Jaakko Pernu - Wood Works with a Difference - Embassy of Finland, Ottawa : Current Affairs


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News, 1/31/2007

Jaakko Pernu - Wood Works with a Difference

Finnish sculptor Jaakko Pernu’s works can be seen for the first time in North America at Toronto’s Spoke Club.

Pirkko Mäkikokkila, Press and Cultural Attaché and curator William Huffman at the opening reception. Photo: Helvi-Sisko Goldfarb

A unique feature of this exhibit is that the art works are introduced by Jaakko Pernu himself, albeit via modern technology. Visitor’s to the Spoke Club gallery in downtown Toronto can pop in a DVD to view images of the artist at work and his finished works on display with commentary from their creator. The modern world meets traditional skill of hand to mutual benefit as Pernu comments on how he is attracted to the tactile and three-dimensional, enjoying making things with his hands.

Jaakko Pernu´s works are quite at home on the wooden floor of the Spoke Club Gallery. Photo: Helvi-Sisko Goldfarb

Many of his works have a direct link to his early life on the family farm. As a child Jaakko Pernu would help his father, who built wooden boats as a sideline, observing and absorbing images and activities around him. These would serve as sources of inspiration as they still do. He will collect material needed for the works directly from the surrounding terrain and sometimes the selection is based on a developed idea. At other times the material itself will act as inspiration. Pernu has made quite a few sculptures commissioned for public spaces. Because of the material, the outdoor works are transient creations that start weathering and decaying as they take on the elements. Many of his works are made of willow, although not using the traditional bending and weaving methods. He builds captivating structures with names reflecting his sense of humour and intuition. He ‘kidnaps nature’, makes hearing aids and spinning tops, as well as a parasol, just to mention a few. His preference is to create on a large scale, which lends itself perfectly to public spaces.

Originally from the municipality of Kälviä on the Northwestern coast of Finland, Pernu now lives in a nearby small town of Kokkola. He studied visual arts in Finland and completed his art education in Rotterdam at the Academie van Beeldende Kunsten, where he was a visiting student for a year. He has been exhibiting since the mid 1980’s and his talents have garnered him quite a list of grants and awards from Finland, which he is really pleased about, since there is nothing quite like recognition by your peers.

William Huffman, Pirkko Mäkikokkila and Spoke Club Chef Hans Vogels, who was given a Finnish cookbook as a memento of the occasion. Photo: Helvi-Sisko Goldfarb

A man who sees the wood for the trees and sees quite deeply into the spirit of wood, Jaakko Pernu invites us to be enchanted by his works. They will be at the Spoke Club until March 25, 2007 courtesy of Tatar Gallery.

Laura McSwiggan

Jaakko Pernu

Spoke Club

Tatar Gallery

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Updated 2/7/2007

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