Elsa Salonen

Pyhästä lehdosta vuodatettu väri

stones, animal bones, plants, and mushrooms collected from the Finnish forests, colours distilled or ground from them, glass, metal
2021-2022, dimensions variable

From the forests of Southwest Finland, the artist collected stones, animal bones, plants, and mushrooms. From the collected materials Salonen distilled or ground colours with which she then painted the glasses.

In Finnish folklore, the forest has been a sacred place for enjoying festive meals and sacrificing to the sprites of the woods. In 1229, Pope Gregory IX of Rome legitimised the sacred forests used for pagan worship as the property of the Church of Finland. Sacred trees were cut down until the 19th century, and many of the oldest churches in Southwest Finland were founded on or near sacred groves - places that were used to being experienced as holy.

The title in Finnish, ‘Pyhästä lehdosta vuodatettu väri’, Colour Shed from the Holy Grove, is a wordplay; ‘väri’ meaning colour, and ‘veri’ meaning blood.

Technical support / grinding the stones into pigments: Kremer Pigments, Germany
Project location / materials: Forests of Southwest Finland, e.g. in Turku and the Turku archipelago
Exhibition views: KINDL Centre for Contemporary Art, Berlin, 2022 / Photographer: Joe Clark