Jaakko Niemelä

The first invited artist at the Saari Residence (2013 – 2014) was visual artist Jaakko Niemelä, who stayed at the residence for a two month residency in 2009.

On working with light and public art

My works centre on my interest in combining natural and artificial light, and my fascination with shadows and darkness. Through my sculptures, installations and other public works of art, I explore light and space: the ways in which materials reflect light and how artistic lighting can be combined with functionality.

My numerous pieces of public light art and competition proposals are close to environmental lighting design, with which I have combined the possibilities of visual art. By collaborating with architects and other designers, art and artistic lighting can become a natural and irremovable part of a building, space or urban environment.

Experience of the Saari Residence

I have previously been at the Saari Residence in November and December 2009.

I have also acted as a teacher and group leader on two projects at the Saari Residence: The Finnish Cultural Foundation’s youth project Myrsky (‘storm’) in March through May of 2010, and Speed of Darkness, a workshop for young Finnish, Estonian and Latvian artists in the summer of 2011. The works created during the project were displayed at exhibitions at the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova Museum in Turku and the Kumu Art Museum in Tallinn.

Workplan for the residency

I am working on a large private exhibition for 2015 at Kunsthalle Helsinki. The exhibition is in part retrospective and will also feature works created together with my wife Helena Hietanen.

I am designing a piece of light art for the Saari Manor pond together with poet Henriikka Tavi.

I am also designing the visual look of a new chapel for the Church Council as well as a piece of light art in cooperation with Helena Hietanen and interior designer Irene Koukku.

For more information, please visit my webpage.