The friends whose lake-side sauna I was telling about in the previous post live in Rauma on the west coast of Finland. In my younger years, Rauma was also my hometown for a decade and until much more recently that of my current husband. The old town centre, Old Rauma, is the largest surviving historical wooden town in the Nordic countries and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (More about that here.)
Once again we didn’t have any time to wander the side alleys but fortunately enough to pop into the Art Museum. We wanted to see the retrospective exhibition of a local artist, the ceramic sculptor Kerttu Horila. The show entitled ‘About us women and a bit about men’ displayed quite a number of life-sized ceramic figures Kerttu Horila is known for as well as ceramic busts and paintings.
The photo of the three angels is the only one I ventured to take inside the museum. A video showing more works from the exhibition can be found under this link.
There is something magical about Horila’s clay characters. They are often both humorous and stunningly bold. The tighter you study them the more alive they seem. Their eyes and facial expressions appear so genuine that when you are stopping to have a closer look you sometimes feel almost like you were intruding. You expect to see a movement of some sort any minute.
The lady sitting on a bench in front of the museum, Maire, is of painted bronze. Did you notice her in the second photo of this post? The sculpture was on loan from the neighbouring town Pori where it has been moving around in public places for a few summers now.
The Three Graces, Rauma’s own outdoor sculpture by Kerttu Horila, can be admired every summer standing in the small stream canal flowing through the town. Do not miss that if you ever visit Rauma. This season the cheerful ladies of painted bronze are being startled by a huge frog prince jumping out of the canal a bit further downstream. Should you pay a visit during winter, you could still see a ceramic version of the graces in the town’s public pool building.
I also have a soulful Horila of my own, I’m happy to add. When I turned 50 my then newlywed husband gave me one of her more affordable pieces as a present. With the blissful couple dancing tango he got it absolutely right that time.