Savu E. Korteniemi: Subjects

Savu E. Korteniemi: Subjects




12:00 – 16:00


clear sky


Welcome to the exhibition opening on Thursday 25 April between 5–7 pm! 

At the heart of my current artistic practice is the question of what kind of thinking and expression the North produces; it is not a question of adding local colour but of acknowledging that, as a human activity, art also takes place in the world, in a certain time and place. I have gathered the subjects of my artworks from the roots of my feet. Some subjects are more concrete than others, others more permanent. Some subjects are believed to last forever. Then there are subjects that, before becoming brittle, sparkle as if they were some precious material.

In July 2021 I visit Valaskivi monolith (literally: Whale Stone) in the hinterland of Metelivaara hill, close to Konttajärvi village and lake in Torne Valley. On the opposite shore of the lake is my grandfather’s birthplace, which is also the place of my childhood summers. However, it is only recently that I have heard of the existence of that ancient sacred stone. I feel uncomfortable in the humid, mosquito-breeding forest, even though I am not far from the road. I’m not far at all.

In October 2022, I spend a month in Tromsø, in the north of Norway, in the middle of the mountains. The scenery is beautiful, but dusk comes early and it almost always rains. On an evening walk, I glance down at the asphalt gleaming in the streetlight. I pick up some small gravel stones, just the ordinary ones.”

My exhibition Aiheita (Subjects) focuses on encounters with stones. Stone is undoubtedly the most mundane of all, both as a material and as a subject. It is on this everydayness of stones that I wanted to focus my gaze – because the stone that has most occupied my thoughts in recent years is a sacred one, belonging to others – and it is only by chance that I have spent some time near the monolith of Metelivaara hill. For me, some time means half of my lived years, but from the perspective of the Valaskivi stone, hardly more than the life of a leaf in the autumn.

But the ordinary stones. The paving stones, the gravel, the crushed stone that is used to prevent slipping or to reinforce the path under the feet of a north-bound hiker. These stones also come from far away. They too have waited millions of years to support our footsteps for a vanishing moment.

Savu E. Korteniemi* graduated with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in 2013 from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, the Department of Sculpture. They live and work in Rovaniemi, Finland. Korteniemi mainly work with sculpture and drawing, approaching art and reality also through writing. They have been a member of the curatorial team of the Young Arctic Artists group exhibition serie produced by the Artists’ Association of Lapland, and they have written articles for cultural magazines such as Mustakala, Kaltio and Taide Magazine.

In years 2023–2025 Savu E. Korteniemi’s artistic practice is supported by the Arts Promotion Center Finland.

*Please note: before year 2020 Savu E. Korteniemi has worked as an artist under the name Sanna Korteniemi. 
When referring in English, please use pronouns they / them.

Fri 26 Apr 2024 – 19 May 2024 12:00 – 16:00


clear sky

Eteläranta 12
00130 Helsinki