New light installation at the City Museum
Jaakko Niemelä’s light installation Shadow projects people walking through the streets of Helsinki on the wall of the museum’s courtyard. The installation was revealed at the Night of the Arts on 25 August 2016.
The architecture of the new Helsinki City Museum, which opened in May 2016, became even more layered as citizens of all ages began to adorn its walls, each at their own pace.
In Jaakko Niemelä’s piece, shadowy silhouettes of people move slowly towards and away from the viewer. From far away, the figures are small, but as they approach they grow massive. The walking city-dwellers are of different ages and sizes and encounter each other in a seemingly random way.
In his works, Niemelä studies light and space – including how different materials reflect light. Indeed, the relationship between the piece and the wall surface is an important part of the installation, as well as how the light installation combines naturally with the museum buildings and courtyard. The shadowy images, moving unhurriedly through the space, also affect how the viewer experiences the scale and perspective of the courtyard.
The new building, designed by architects Davidsson Tarkela, has a facade covered with prepatinated copper mesh, onto which Niemelä’s light installation is reflected. Over time, the copper mesh will gradually darken and become greener. The shadowy human figures reflected on the wall further emphasise the theme of the slow passage of time.
The light installation can best be seen from the City Museum’s Sederholm courtyard in the dark. The entrance to the Sederholm courtyard is located at Aleksanterinkatu 16.