Elsa Salonen

Veden väelle

natural elements collected from the Finnish Baltic Sea and its shores, colours distilled or ground from them, glasshouse, glass, silver, lights
2019, 350x260x260 cm

For the installation, various natural elements were collected from the Finnish Baltic Sea and its shores; such as algae, aquatic plants, seawater, seabed sand and pieces of cliffs as well as shells and fish bones which had drifted onto the beach. From the collected materials the artist distilled or ground colours with which she then painted the walls of a glasshouse. The remaining algae were dried, powdered and used to create the symmetric pattern in the middle of the installation.

‘Veden väelle’ (For the Water Sprites) is dedicated to the ancient sea sprites. According to Finnish mythology, each natural environment is governed by its own sprite, who guards the region affecting its well-being and prosperity. To ensure good fishing fortune various offerings, such as silver, were brought to the mighty Water Sprites.

Technical support / deep-sea algae: Sonja Gunell, marine biologist, Turku, Finland
Thematic consultancy / Finnish mythology: Kaarina Koski, folklore scholar, Helsinki 
Project location: Turku archipelago, Finland
Exhibition views: The Nordic Embassies, Berlin, 2019 / Photographer: Joe Clark

Colour sources

Silver nuggets
Silver nuggets