Mother Earth in the Music Centre Ceiling
This sculpture by Kirsi Kaulanen (b. 1969) was named Gaia (2011) after the ancient Greek goddess of the Earth. At 14 metres in length, 10 metres in height, and 2,200 kg in weight, the sculpture in polished stainless steel is visible both inside the Helsinki Music Centre and from outside, in the direction of Mannerheimintie.
Constructed from organic forms, Gaia resembles a saxophone, a horn, a landscape, or a winding shape. It is linked to nature by its flowing form and by the fact that it includes 28 of the 150 currently-endangered Finnish plant species.
The artist has described the dual nature of the work by linking it to a real-life nature experience and to an abstract idea: seeing the work from all directions is like a 360-degree panorama from the top of a mountain. At a more abstract level, the work is a study of concentric forms, familiar to us from mandalas or dripping water.
A fascinating public work of art, Gaia's organic form is emphasized by the reduced architectural language of the building. Depending on the viewing angle, the appearance of the work changes constantly–a fact that is accentuated by the changing lighting design.
Suspended from the Music Centre ceiling, Gaia is a monument opening like a primordial horn or landscape. Moving around inside the building and seeing the work from several angles gives a constantly changing experience for the viewer resembling of a walk in nature. Seen from the outside, the work is connected to the cityscape and the natural environment around the Töölönlahti Bay.
Sculptor Kirsi Kaulanen studied at the Kankaanpää Art Institute and the University of Art and Design, where she graduated with a Master of Arts in 2004. Her works are found in the Helsinki Art Museum and the State of Finland collections. She was awarded first prize in the Helsinki Music Centre art competition in 2010. The competition was arranged and the work commissioned by the State Art Collection.
Juha-Heikki Tihinen, PhD