independent artist run online Art project


Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen 
Home site, Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen, plastic

Gallery 1
communal art and education

Gallery 2
recycled paper, glass
Ars Häme
Art Häme 10

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Your window on Finnish Environmental Art / Ympäristötaide verkossa / Editor: Lea Turto

Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen, ART HÄME 11 Happening: Red mat, Hämeenlinna Art museum 2011

Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen

english Visual Artist
suomeksi Kuvataiteilija

Master of Pedagogics, Licentiate of Philosophy (art education), Pedagog of Museum, Bachelor of Art,
Chairwoman of the Heinola Visual Artists´ registered association.

Lives and works in Mikkeli
Email: akvarellot@gmail.com

Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen: Punainen matto
Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen, ART HÄME 11 Happening:
Red mat, Hämeenlinna Art museum 2011

Environmental and community artist

“For me, environmental art is a tool, plain and simple, like a toboggan, for instance, with no frills or especial values attached. It usually comes to life best when practised by a number of artists at once, so that community art forms a natural part of it.

The short-lived, momentary nature of environmental art means that it is like a picture drawn on a blackboard; its structures and materials may be washed away by rain the next day. The earth may simply swallow the work of art up like a blackboard sponge wipes away a chalk line.

When I was small we had the forest, where we could run about and fight our battles, so that the herd of children in the village was able to perform its own environmental art in a straightforward but communal fashion in the Laaksotie forest in Heinola. Now I can say with some degree of certainty that those childhood experiences have been of enormous importance to me in my art and in living my life.”

Bits of plastic, recycled materials and traditional handicraft techniques

Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen, Matto,  muovi, kierrätystaide
Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen

Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen has set out in her artistic work to find new materials that can be assembled by the age-old rya rug-making technique; in this case she settled for strips of shredded polythene bags. In the opinion of Charles Jencks (1986), the concept of double-coding in post-modern art refers precisely to the combining of modern techniques with traditional ones.

Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen: Punainen matto
Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen, ART HÄME 11 Happening: Red mat, Hämeenlinna Art museum 2011

Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen: Punainen Matto
Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen
Red mat

 Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen, ART HÄME 10 Tapahtuma, Sininen Nurmikko
Blue Lawn, Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen’s contribution to the ART HÄME 10 exhibition in the former Finlayson factory buildings in Forssa in 2010.

“Blue Lawn harks back to my childhood memories of lying on the grass in our forest and gazing up at the sky. I would often wonder what it would be like if the grass were coloured blue like the sky - a blue lawn.


Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen, Sininen nurmikko, Ars Häme
Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen, Blue Lawn
Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen, Punainen matto

Recycling plastic

The difficulty of getting rid of plastic has always interested me.  When we were little we used to sit on the stairs cutting plastic milk containers into strips.  This was the place where women gathered together and where all the important news were told.  I remember how the small kittens used to jump among the mat textiles curious of the noise made by the rustle of milk bags that had a smell of milk.  Out of those strips mats were knitted afterwards.  The mats were round and the idea was that “when the bag was suitably fragile and thin it was good enough for a small doormat”.      

Each part of the work is built up on a framework of wire netting, as it is often on display out of doors and plastic netting would have been too fragile and open to vandalism. I took bundles of the plastic stubs from which customers at the local supermarket had torn off their bags, separated them into individual strips, tied these to the wire netting frames and coloured the mats blue with car spray-paint.

Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen, muovimatto, tekniikka

“These already shredded plastic bundles are extremely good material for crocheting.  There were surprisingly many different shades of grey.  You can see the difference in a mat or carpet that has not been dyed.  For the carpet in this picture I have knotted around 20 000 strips.  It is usually two weeks´ work.  I have also made mats with plastic bases for indoor purposes.  You can wash them in a washing machine and they are durable and especially good resting places for animals as plastic is a good heat isolator.”
- Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen





Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulaine: Punainen matto, Art Häme
Sirpa Svahn-Kumpulainen, ART HÄME 11 Happening: Red mat, Hämeenlinna Art museum 2011