Zodiak is part of the Helsinki Biennial 2021 with The Wall, a functional sculpture by visual artist Joni Kärkkäinen and dance artist Jukka Tarvainen.

The marble rocks peeking out of the ground are the sole memento of the heyday of ancient times. The rocks that once formed a wall crossing the landscape have now been scattered all around. The ancient exertions of strength have proven vain as the wall crumbled but what happens to the ruins? 

The choreographic work The Wall, by visual artist Joni Kärkkäinen and choreographer Jukka Tarvainen, and located by the Töölönlahti Bay, encourages citizens to approach art through their own modes of interpretation, being, invention, exploration and movement. The choreographer Tarvainen will also direct the performance Get Down From There – And Other Remarks, in which both professional and amateur dancers and professional parkourists interact with The Wall.

Kärkkäinen and Tarvainen came up with the idea for the work while wandering around Vallisaari Island, where both of them were struck by its dualistic nature: the public has free access to certain parts of the island, but not to others. This inspired them to begin playing with the idea of crossing over, or jumping the fence. Lower and more lightly structured fences have been erected beside the old military fortress walls. Their function is no longer to protect Finlandia from hostile conquering attempts. Due to their delicate structure, these fences serve less as barrier and more as encouragement for passersby to maintain their distance from the environmentally vulnerable shoreline marshes where fragile and endangered birds, insects and plants have slowly become more present.

A vision started to form in the minds of the makers, where the fate of some of Vallisaari’s structures is to be transplanted to the mainland. Kärkkäinen and Tarvainen feel that the story has a lesson to share; the same fate awaits all the mighty constructions of our city, both the physical and the mental ones. The work addresses the limits of time spans that surpass individual life spans, and asks what kinds of walls and blockages are worth erecting in our minds and in the world.

Throughout the biennial summer, a programme around The Wall will include open workshops as well as the Patsastellaan Parties for Public Sculpture event organised by James Prevett. The work will also serve as an events venue for the Flow Finland parkour tour.


Jukka Tarvainen ja Joni Kärkkäinen
Kuva: Helsinki Biennaali