50 years old | Aalto University’s art coordinator Outi Turpeinen defends public art, as it produces a good environment and acts as an excellent stimulus for discussion

Public art is a sensitive issue that arouses a lot of passions, says Outi Turpeinen, Art Coordinator at Aalto University. In his view, art is not an item of expenditure but an investment.

IN THE OVEN ISLAND goes cruel blower. The snow is blinking to the eyes and the icy line protrudes from the cracks in the jacket.

Outi Turpeinen is still excited. He admires the shades of the marine landscape and shares suggestions from the photographer on suitable angles.

Then he laughs.

“You see, I immediately documentation mass,” he regrets.

PEAT works as an art coordinator at Aalto University, and is responsible for the university’s art procurement and the development of exhibition activities.

Arranging things is his daily routine.

There is also plenty to do.

Otaniemi is the second largest campus development project in Europe, and with it the visibility of art and creativity has also increased. The university has 14 exhibition spaces of its own and co-operation agreements with Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and Helsinki City Library Oodi.

Art acquisition instructors have numerous different criteria. The age and gender of the artist, among other things, must be taken into account. Procurement must reflect equality and diversity, Turpeinen explains.

And of course also the quality. That’s really important, he adds.

What about domesticity?

“Most of the purchases have come from Finnish artists. But it is still not an absolute value. We are an international university, and it is also reflected in art acquisitions. ”

IN 2017 Aalto University introduced the percentage principle, in which it undertook to spend one percent of construction costs on art. On an annual basis, there is talk of a few hundred thousand euros.

Turpeinen would still not like to talk about money.

He says public art is a sensitive thing and arouses a lot of passions. Therefore, individual numbers do not serve a purpose without a wider opening of the case.

So let’s talk about the importance of art. Why is investing in art important?

“Well, first of all, we are one of the most important art students and research places in Finland. Art is our field and reflects the activities of the university, ”Turpeinen explains.

“In addition, public art produces a good environment and acts as an excellent stimulus for conversation,” he adds.

“And the art collection isn’t leaving the university. It is an asset that builds up the balance sheet. So it is not an item of expenditure. ”


“Is. Of course. ”

PEAT himself is a true art all-rounder. He is a doctoral student with a doctoral degree and a degree in design, and in addition to his university position, he serves on the board of the Finnish Association of Industrial Arts Ornamo and in numerous other expert positions.

In addition to administrative work, some of our own art is also created. Currently, Turpeinen is working on a joint video project with a ukulele artist Jarmo Julkusen with.

Life is strongly intertwined around art.

Turpeinen admits that he can no longer see art with “virgin eyes”. When studying works of art, he inadvertently evaluates the background history of the works, analyzes techniques and meanings.

Does it ever bother you?

“It doesn’t hurt, it’s my job and passion. And art is not supposed to be a mere pleasure, ”he says.

PERSONAL Turpeinen does not want to name his favorites from Finnish artists. He says he receives considerable lobbying messages from artists and does not want to highlight individual names because of his role as a gatekeeper.

“That’s a pretty sensitive thing, too,” he says.

He still agrees to reveal his own favorite artist. Turpeinen says that he especially admires the American sculptor and textile artist Janet Echelmania.

His idol Turpeinen met in 2017. He invited Echelman to be the keynote speaker at Aalto University Public art now! seminar.

“Echelman is a great artist. He makes visually stunning works in which the sea and especially the nets have served as inspiration, ”Turpeinen describes.

SEA is a very important element for Turpeinen. He says that he spent his youth in Parais, where the sea area is the largest of Finland’s municipalities, as many as 4,654.92 square kilometers.

Summers were spent with the family in a sailboat touring the Archipelago Sea. Turpeinen says he loves the sea.

What does it give?

“I feel at home there. I am a little bit restless soul, perhaps it belongs to a new artistic. But in the archipelago I have peace. There I don’t want anywhere else. ”

Outi Turpeinen

Born in Vihti in 1971. Lives in Helsinki.

Works as an art coordinator at Aalto University.

Graduated with a master’s degree in art from the University of Art and Design with a major in ceramics and glass art. Doctoral degree in art in 2005.

The family includes a husband, restaurateur Rauno Rönnberg, two daughters and two cats.

Turns 50 on Saturday, January 23rd.


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