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Willow Branches Finding Their Place in Pernu Art Installation

KUVA: Jukka-Pekka Moilanen
News in english 18.5.2012 12:48

As the drizzle starts to fall, sculptor Jaakko Pernu instinctively pulls his hat down over his ears. The weather doesn’t break his concentration. His work in Lyötynpuisto Park in Oulu continues.

Perched on the first level of his scaffolding, Pernu nails another willow branch onto his sculpture.

Then he spins the entire construction around like a carrousel, pondering the results. This flourish helps reveal where Pernu should attach the next branch.

“So far, I've used 210 branches.”

Eventually, there will be some 1 300 willow branches in the installation. The outward form of the artwork is already clear to the sculptor, but many willow branches are still awaiting their place inside the sculpture.

Slowly, a glass of water is beginning to take shape.

The work gets many a look from passers-by.

“Many people stop and comment on the sculpture. Usually, they ask about when it will be finished. Some of them are amazed that the material is willow.”

Some express their sadness, too, that Pernu’s previous installation, Päivänvarjo (“parasol”), is now absent from the park.

Indeed, the new sculpture is being built to replace Päivänvarjo, which had to be taken down last November. The material for the installation is one hundred percent local Oulu willow. Last February, Pernu, billhook in hand, roved the fields of Kaakkuri and harvested each willow himself.

After that, he prepared and painted the branches. The installation is going to be about five meters high and, if strung together, the willow branches would stretch nearly two kilometers. The preparation of the willows took Pernu over two months.

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