Tapiola Church, Espoo

Invitation to the exhibition
Foreword to the exhibition catalogue by Professor Juhani Pallasmaa.
Excerpt from the exhibition catalogue with my description of the background to the works.
As my theme was detail drawings, I studied a building that has personal significance for me: the Tapiola Church in Espoo, designed by architect Aarno Ruusuvuori. I studied the archived architectural drawings of the building and selected a number of detail drawings for the basis of further work.

I viewed the drawings as motifs, without thinking of their function as documentation for the construction work. I distanced the drawings from their original purpose by selecting segments, changing the scale and finding a new physical appearance for lines.

From schooltime visits to the church, I can remember the unadorned walls of the nave, made of LECA blocks. I used to count the number of white seams between the blocks and imagine subtle colours on to the walls. I never could count the seams correctly, and the colours would not stay put with the changing light, but the building held me captive.

Even at that time, I may have thought of painting frescoes. I now realized them as individual paintings, covering their surfaces with subtle shades of colours and engraving the motifs from the drawings by hand.

I spent time in the church, photographing its details: the baptismal font, the LECA block wall, the fireplace damper. The details are minimalistic. Instead of them, one’s attention is attracted by the uninterrupted flow of one shape into another.
The motifs of the detail drawings and the future frescoes vary from the profane to the sacred, from vertical sections showing window details to the cross. The photos show the chancel rail, the cross above the main entrance and a pew.
The cross above the entrance shown both as constructed and in a fresco. This is the only fresco where the motif is depicted in natural size; in the others, the details are considerably enlarged. In this way, the detail is changed from the human scale into something that embraces us.
Three paintings in the series – Baptismal Font (left), Fireplace Damper, and Details of the LECA Block Wall – were deposited in the side aisle beside the nave in 2013.
View of the works deposited; to the right, Details of the LECA Block Wall against the actual LECA block wall.
View of a detail of the LECA block wall.

The original detail drawings were made by hand on sketching paper with pencil. For the frescoes, I searched for an interpretation of the strong yet frail combination of pencil and sketch. I realized it by engraving the drafted lines by hand on the plaster surface of the frescoes, using a scriber. The engraved white lines are like a negative image of the pencil lines in the sketches. At the same time, they are an echo of the seams between the LECA blocks.

View of three frescoes in the exhibition Collector’s Gaze in the Pori Art Museum, 2013. The entire series was exhibited in Gallery Otso in Tapiola in 1998.
Kaisa Soini, Cross Above Main Entrance, 1998, applied fresco, 150 x 200 cm
(The work is in the Huutoniemi Church, Vaasa, designed by Aarno Ruusuvuori.)
Kaisa Soini, Details of the LECA Block Wall, 1998, applied fresco, 200 x 150 cm
Kaisa Soini, Fireplace Damper, 1998, applied fresco, 200 x 150 cm
Kaisa Soini, Baptismal Font, 1998, applied fresco, 200 x 150 cm
Kaisa Soini, Chancel Rail, 1998, applied fresco, 200 x 150 cm
Kaisa Soini, Doors of the Church Hall and Corridor, 1998, applied fresco, 200 x 150 cm
Kaisa Soini, Window Details, Vertical Section, 1998, applied fresco, 200 x 150 cm
Kaisa Soini, Pew, 1998, applied fresco, 150 x 200 cm
Kaisa Soini, Window Details, Horisontal Section, 1998, applied fresco, 200 x 300 cm
(The work is in Tampere University Department of Architecture.)