Photo: Robert Seger
Jan-Erik Andersson (b. 1954) is an artist whose works are dealing with primary biological, psychological and sociological energies of being human – loving, constructing, communicating, eating, dreaming, playing. Since 1980 he has presented installations, performances, public art works, interactive media works and architecture. In the course of the past one and half decades Andersson has explored the effect of the unexpected by collaborating with other artists and architects, especially with sound artist Shawn Decker from Chicago and architect Erkki Pitkäranta from Helsinki. Since 1991 he has been a member of the performance group Edible Finns.
Andersson’s best known work is the total artwork Life on a Leaf, where he lived with his family until it became a residency in 2023. The house, a product of collaboration with Pitkäranta, was the subject for his Doctorate in Visual Arts 2008 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki. The project explores the house as a membrane between nature and culture and the potential of art and ornamentation to create ”iconic space”. Andersson continued his research by building a new hexagonal log house, the Spruce-house, as a neighbour to the Life on a Leaf-house, where he nows lives with his wife.
” His works are usually about love, longing and nostalgia. The intention is to create sculptures and installations that inspire children and adults to create their own fantasies and stories …”
Dr Judith Collins, Sculpture Today (Phaidon 2007)
“Nature appears everywhere in this environment (the Life on a Leaf house): from inside or out, you see the likeness of a leaf, a heart, lips, and a teardrop, symbolic representations that Andersson calls “iconic space”. Ornament, playful and nostalgic, floods the interior: weeds and flowers are cast in the concrete walls, a mosaic ship sails in the bathroom, chefs cook up a storm in the kitchen laminates, and lion blankets the upholstery on the sofa.”
Professor George H. Marcus, Total Design – Architecture and Interiors of Iconic Modern Houses, (Rizzoli, 2014)
“The Leaf House is ultimately about love, love of relationships, love as community, and of art as a vital element in architecture, architecture as an ecological interactive process whose real economy is love. Architecture can bind us all, a shared experience manifest in the Leaf House.curator and author John K. Grande “
Marketta Haila: Totista leikkiä ja karnevalistista kapinaa
Kuraattori ja entinen Porin taidemuseon ja FRAMEn johtaja Marketta Haila analysoi Jan-Erik Anderssonin taiteellista tuotantoa. Artikkeli on julkaistu Anderssonin Kauno on kuollut näyttelyn yhteydessä galleria Sculptorissa Helsingissä 2.-25.10.2020.
Name and date
Web site, email, phone
Date and place of birth, nationality, current residence
04-09-1954, Turku Finland
Lives and works in Pikisaarentie 4, 20900, Turku, Finland
Education and degrees awarded
Doctor in Fine Arts (DFA), Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts, Helsinki, 2008.
Turku Arts Academy, 1982.
Bachelor of Science, Åbo Akademi University, Turku. (Major: Biology, Organic Chemistry. Minor: Botany, Art History), 1981.
Mother tongue: Swedish
Other languages: Finnish, English
Artistic leader of the AmosLAB, a laboratory for artistic research connected to the Åbo Akademi University (www.amoslab.fi)
Previous work experience
Grant periods for post-doc research:
Kone foundation; half year grant for post-doc research 2015
Kone foundation; half year grant for post-doc research 2014
Grant periods for doctoral research:
Academy of Fine Arts; project grant for doctoral research, 2008
Kone Foundation; one-year grant for doctoral research, 2008
Suomen Kulttuurirahasto; three-year grant for doctoral research, 2005-07
Research funding, leadership and supervision
Research funding for AmosLAB. Source of funding: Kone Foundation. Funding period: 2014-16. Amount of funding: 90.000 €. Preparation of funding together with DFA Jan Kenneth Weckman and professor Bengt Kristensson Uggla.
During a period of 30 years; supervision or reviewing of a large number of MFA and BFA students’ theses from the Academy of Fine Arts, Aalto University and Turku Arts Academy.
Merits in teaching and pedagogical competence
Teaching merits in Art Schools: example of courses in separate submitted teaching portfolio.
Several lectures, courses and workshops in painting, experimental sculpture, installations and architecture in the Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki, Aalto University, Turku Arts Academy.
Lectures abroad of own artistic production in art schools and architectural schools: Henry Moore Institute, Leeds 1998, Chicago Art Institute 1996 and 2004 (Department of Architecture), Carleton University’s Architecture School, Ottawa, 2003, Bologna Art Academy 2004, Public Arts, Wakefield (later called BEAM), 2002, Architecture & Agriculture Conference, York, UK, 2005, Tallinn Art Academy, 2008, Trondheim Art Academy, 2008, Utrecht Art Academy, 2009, Norrtälje Art Hall, 2009. Burren College of Art, Ireland, 2012, Yale University, Department of Architecture, 2017.
Facilitator of Challenging Architecture summer school in Public Arts (Now called Beam), 2002, Wakefield, UK
Awards, prizes and honours
Svenska Kulturfonden, Art prize, 2016
The Environmental Artwork of the Year 2007
Arts Promotion Centre Finland, State prize for children culture, 2004
Svenska Kulturfonden, Art prize, 1998
Aboa prize ( Turku city cultural prize) 1989
Other academic merits
External examiner of the doctoral dissertation by DFA student Eileen Hutton; Being in the Land: A Sculptural Investigation of Ecology, Burren College of Art, Ireland, 2012.
External examiner of the doctoral dissertation by DFA student Tanya de Paor; Fables for a Reconstruction: A toolkit to imagine the Symbioscene, Burren College of Art, Ireland, 2022.
Abstract The Building as Ornament. Symbol for Global Capitalism – or a Model for “Vernacular Resistance”? approved for the international EAM conference “Utopia” on Modernism in Helsinki arranged by the University of Helsinki, 2014.
Part of the multidisciplinary academic evaluation group studying the impact of the Turku European Cultural Capital year in 2011. (J-E Andersson, H. Andersson, S. Ruoppila, J.Vahlo)
Scientific and societal impact of research
Life on a Leaf – My House as a Total Artwork. MER.Paperkunsthalle (AraMER), Netherlands, ISBN 9789491775536 (2014)
Wow – Åsikter om finländsk arkitektur. Schildts & Söderströms, ISBN 9789515233158 (2014)
Elämää lehdellä. Maahenki. ISBN 9 789525 870824 (2012)
Life on a Leaf. Pori Art Museum.ISBN 978-952-5648-25-6 (2011)
WILD – Fantasia ja arkkitehtuuri (Fantasy and Architecture). Together with the Canadian curator Jen Budney. Maahenki / Turku City Art Museum. ISBN 978-952-5652-00-0 (2007)
Selected solo exhibitions:
1985 The Adventures of the Triangle, the Circle and the Square, Tammisaari city library
1987 Yves Klein’s Boxing Gloves and Other Stories, Gallery of the Artists Association, Jyväskylä
1988 The Triangle, the Circle and the Square meet the Fast-food-boat, Galerie Pelin, Helsinki
1989 Tampere Art Museum
1990 The Baby Retsospective, Pori Art Museum and Turku Art Museum
1991 To Keep the Balance in the Alps, Galerie Kaj Forsblom, Helsinki
The Triangle, the Circle and the Square meet the Fast-food-boat, Studio N, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki
1993 The Houses of the Three Pigs, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki. With assistance from Henrietta Lehtonen and Annuska Rantanen
1993 The Dream of the Iceprincess, Sara Hilden Art Museum, Tampere
1994 Cafeteria Andersson, Jämsä
1995 Clean/Puhdas/Ren. Galerie Sculptor, Helsinki
Cafeteria Andersson, Turku Art Museum
1997 Galerie Régine Lussan, Paris
1998 The Secret of the Goldenred castle, Sodertalje Art Hall, Sweden
2002 Galleri 21, Malmo, Sweden
2003 Paradise. Gallery Sculptor, Helsinki
The Core of Christmas. Turku City Art Museum, Finland
2004 Bird’s Nest Wakefield, Public Arts, Wakefield, UK (with Shawn Decker)
2006 The Sans of the Pure Cut (The ornament is back, Adolf Loos!). Installation in the stairs of the Ateneum building, Helsinki.
I dreamed I was the Moominpapa who dreamed that… Installation in the Anna Akhmatova Museum, St Petersburg
2007 Bird’s Nest. Evanston Art Center, Chicago (With Shawn Decker)
I dreamed I was the Moominpapa who dreamed that… Installation in the Turku Castle, Finland
2008 I dreamed I was the Moominpapa who dreamed that… Installation in the Moscow Book Fair
2009 Life on a Leaf – My house as a total artwork, is opened for visiting groups
2012 Iconic Space – The future of Art and Architecture. Gallery Kaarisilta, Helsinki
War. Å-Gallery (Turku Artist’s Association’s gallery)
Sounding Dome Sauna (With Shawn Decker) Turku City Art Museum
2014 Urkonzert (With Shawn Decker). Gallery Sculptor, Helsinki
2015 Nelimarkka Museum, Alajärvi (Invited)
2017 Urkonzert (With Shawn Decker). Rajatila Gallery, Tampere
2020 Handwriting Has Died, Gallery Sculptor, Helsinki. Invited: sound artist Shawn Decker
2021 Free Space, Ostrobothnian Museum, Vaasa. Invited: Shawn Decker, Eileen Hutton, Robert Powell
2022 The Flame. Gallery Pictor, Vihti.
Bird’s Nest Porvoo (With Shawn Decker). Environmental installation during August, 2022
The Flame. Soderlangvik manor, café/exhibition space
2023 Andersson x Ars Nova. Ars Nova Art Museum, Turku
Selected group exhibitions:
1984 /1986 Young Artists’ Exhibition, Art Hall, Helsinki
1986 Turku Art Biennale, Wäinö Aaltonen Art Museum, Turku
1987 and 1989. Finnish Artists’ Association Annual Exhibition, Art Hall, Helsinki, 1993 Karkkila Factory
1987 /1988 Eighty-European Painters, Touring exhibition in Europe
1987 400 steps. Installation in the old rope factory in Turku
1988 Both/And, Nordic Art Centre, Helsinki
1989 Budka. Joined exhibition with young artists from St. Petersburg. Installation in the yard of the Turku Castle
1989 Stockholm Art Fair. Galerie Kaj Forsblom
1990 /1991 Water. Touring exhibition in Finland arranged by the Church of Finland
1991 Freezone. Art Hall, Helsinki and 1991 Art Hall, Budapest
1992 Lumen 10. Installation in the artificial caves of the Retretti Art Centre, Punkaharju
1992 Sculpture in Kainuu. Outdoor installation-sculpture in Sotkamo
1992 Con Temporis. Installation in Millesgården, Stockholm
1992 Finlandida. Young Finnish Art, design and architecture. The Academy of Fine Arts, Stockholm
1993 Energy Station. Telecommunication with the Casino Container in Cologne, Helsinki
1994 Art by Airfright. Museu de Arte Contemporanea (MAC), Sao Paulo
1995 Here, Where, Otherwise? Pakhuset, Nykoping, Denmark
Timescape, Kerava Art Museum
Timescape, Södertälje Art hall, Sweden
Timescape, Aine Art Museum, Tornio
Timescape, Bergens kunstforening, Norway
1996 Timescape, Northern Arizona University Art Gallery, USA
Timescape, Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, Kansas City, USA
Timescape, McNeese State University Art Gallery, Lake Charles, USA
Dialogue, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki
Borealis 8, Arken Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, Denmark
1997 Ilo irti, The Finnish Painters’ Association’s exhibition, Galerie Allinna, Riihimäki
MAP-biennale. Amos Andersson Art Museum, Helsinki
1998 Artranspennine98. Public Arts, Wakefield
1999 The Sky is the Limit. Chocolate sculptures for environmental art exhibition in Tampere
Emotions. The Helsinki City Museum
Alphabets and tools, Artemisia gallery, Chicago, USA
2000 Transitions. Finnish Art. Malmo Art Museum, Sweden
Transitions. Finnish Art. Rostock Art Museum, Germany
Alphabets and tools, Finnish Cultural Center, Paris, France
World Wide Choclate heart, Continent. Media Art exhibition. Lasipalatsi, Helsinki-Brussels
Transplant-Heart. Helsinki-Bologna. With Karin Andersen, Bologna
2001 Rotation, Mediaproject in Morgenbladet, Norway, NIFCA
Retretti Art Centre, Punkaharju, Finland
2002 Klosterruinen Berlin, Germany
PR02(en ruta), San Juan, Puerto Rico
2003 In the Artist’s House, Espoo Art Museum, Finland
Beyond the Dreams, Oulu Art Museum, Lappeenranta Art Museum, Finland
2004 ISEA Wireless experience, Kiasma, Helsinki
2005 Taju05, Environmental works in Hyvinkaa, Finland
Dulcis in Fundo, Ilmola Communal Library (Edible Finns)
2007 WILD – Fantasy and Architecture, Turku City Art Museum
2008 Todella siistiä, Raumo Art Museum
Fennofolk, Design museum, Helsinki
Pitkältä tieltä. Tampere Art Museum
2009 (un)Naturally, Kiasma, Helsinki
2010 Taiteilijan tilat ja talot. Kuopio Art Museum
Arte-50 years. Turku City Art Museum
Laznia Center for Contemporary Art, Gdansk
The Artist’s spaces and house. Kuopio Art Museum
MomentumDesign – art, design and the space in between. Punkt ø, Moss, Norway (Galeri F15)
2011 Eco-Art. Pori Art Museum
Saunalab. Turku City Art Museum
2013 Mänttä Art Festival
Personal Structures. Palazzo Bembo, Venice (Collateral event of the Venice Biennale)
2014 Ars Boretum, Westers, Kemiö
2015 Occupie Space. Rovaniemi Art Museum
Finland, Galleri 21, Malmö
2016 Ornament & Beauty. Titanik Gallery, Turku
Mansikkapaikka. WAM – Turku City Art Museu
Fin_Between. Arena 1 Gallery, Los Angeles, (with Shawn Decker)
2017 Mänttä Art Festival (with Shawn Decker)
2018 Currents New Media Festival, Santa Fe, USA (with Shawn Decker)
2019 Aragail Arts Festival, Clady, Northern Ireland. (with Robert Powell and Eileen Hutton)
2021 Oasis. Environmental exhibition, Tammisaari (with Shawn Decker)
2022 Resonating Bodies. Uppsala Art Museum, Sweden (with Shawn Decker)
Sculpture as a Carbon Storage. Turku Art Hall
1994 Socially warming musicvideo-sculpture, The Kingdom of the Stubbles, in Leinola primaryschool, Tampere.
1997 The Balancing Soul. Leinola primary school, Tampere.
The Story of the Islands. Installation based on a fairy tale in Rastis-Nordsjö primary school, Helsinki.
The meeting of the Turku Castle Gnome and Valpuri Innamaa. A work on the Theatrebridge , Turku.
1998 The Surrealistic Midsummerpole, Rasis-Nordsjö primary school.
1999 Kaistapää. A talking sculpture in the Vehicle Administration Centre, Helsinki.
2000 The River by the Mountain. Artwork in Masala Church, Kirkkonummi. In co-operation with architect Erkki Pitkäranta.
2001 The King’s Road, Artwork in Karakallio Church, Espoo. In co-operation with architect Erkki Pitkäranta.
The Rainbow’s Treasure. Environmental work in Biowalley, Turku. 24 lightpoles with wind-sculptures.
2003 Pomona-a virtual diary for Sirkkala school, Turku.
Good Morning. Relief on the wall of Päivärinne primary school.
2004 I am. A total art work in Kouvola congregation hall. In co-operation with architect Erkki Pitkäranta.
Life Boat Adventure. Interactive sculpture in Strandnäs primary school.
2005 Firewall, A permanent installation in Åbo Akademi University library.
2006 Det eviga ljushavet över det ljudande golvet. Helhetskonstverk i Majblommans seniorhem, Helsingfors.
2007 The Rainbow’s Treasure. Environmental Art Work in Bio walley, Turku.
Fredrika Runeberg and the Dot. Light art work on the wall of the Ars Nova Museum, Turku.
2009 God’s Footstep. Ruunaniemi summer school center. In co-operation with architect Erkki Pitkäranta.
The Ski Jumper’s House, Lehtoniemi Daycare Center, Kuopio.
2012 Pehr Kalm Revival. Environmental work outside the Sibelius Museum, Turku.
2013 The Barbeque Lover’s Carousel Shelter. Kone foundation, Saaren Kartano, Mynämäki.
2015 The Second Awakening. Artistic design of the Alatori market square in Lahti.
Fire and Rain. Visual design of two freeway ventilation pipes in Tampere city centre.
Fire Alley. Artistic design of an alley between two houses next to the Town Hall in Pori.
2017 The Gordian Knot. Environmental Sculpture, Kirkonvarkaus housing area, Mikkeli
1993 Eating-performance with Kari Juutilainen, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki
1994 Eating-performance with Kari Juutilainen, Museu de Arte Contemporanea (MAC), Sao Paulo
Edible Finns (Jan-Erik Andersson, Kari Juutilainen and Pertti Toikkanen), Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent, Belgium
1995 Edible Finns, Pori Art Museum
Cleaning the Art, Södertälje Art hall, Sweden
Cleaning performance, Bergens kunstforening, Norway
1996 3 Performances in N.A.M.E.-gallery, Chicago, USA, together with Shawn Decker, Andrea Polli, Louise McKissick and Jeff Callen
1997 Sharp Hearts and Spare Parts. Performance with Louise McKissick (Chicago) in Titanik-gallery, Turku
Music from the Well-Fed Abyss. Digital sound Performance with Shawn Decker (Chicago) in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki
1998 Edible Finns, Public Arts, Wakefield, UK.
2001 Eating-performance with Pertti Toikkanen, Galerie Pussy Galore, Berlin, Germany
Geisha. Fazer café, Kluuvinkatu, Helsinki
2002 Edible Finns, Lahti Art Museum.
Edible Finns, Jämsä Summer Exhibition
2003 Edible Finns, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds
2005 Edible Finns, Turku Art Museum
2006 Edible Finns, Rauma Art Museum
Edible Finns, Torgallmänningen, Bergen, Norway (With Kurt Johannesen)
2008 My Life as Books. Turku City Library
2010 Edible Finns, Joensuu Art Museum
2011 The Destruction of Beauty. Nomadic University, Turku School of Economics.
2013 Edible Finns, Ars Nova Art Museum,Turku
Edible Finns, Kone foundation’s Autumn Festival
2015 Edible Finns, Wäinö Aaltonen Art Museum, Turku
Apple Concert, Wäinö Aaltonen Art Museum, Turku (With Shawn Decker)
2016 Apple Concert, Aboagora conference, Turku (With Shawn Decker)
Apple Concert, Arena 1 Gallery, Los Angeles (With Shawn Decker)
Carl Milles & Olga. In co-operation with Marjatta Oja, 1992
The Three Small Pigs. The Final Story. In co-operation with Henrietta Lehtonen and Joni Bergström, 1993
Mona Lisa, 1995
Paradise (with Shawn Decker, sound), 2003
Apple Concert (with Shawn Decker, sound), 2003
The Destruction of Beauty, 2011. Published on YouTube: http://youtu.be/AEL0QIdCLTk
Life on a Leaf Video Kiosk. Kiosk with videos from the Life on a Leaf house, a total artwork.
1995 Clean/Puhdas/Ren. Documentation of cleaning performance. In the collections of Kiasma, Helsinki
1997 The meeting of the Turku Castle Gnome and Valpuri Innamaa. The work on the Theatre bridge in Turku includes a written part by four authors on Internet.
2003 Life on a Leaf – house project. www.anderssonart.com/leaf
1995 SOL-world. Artistic planning of the cleaning company SOL’s forthcoming head office in Helsinki. Together with architect Erkki Pitkäranta and architect Jari Inkinen
1996 The Cumin-house. Artistic planning of an ecological cow-house in Teuva for 40 cows. Together with architect Erkki Pitkäranta
1997 The Flower house. Artistic planning of a schoolbuilding for gardeners in Kiipula. Together with architect Erkki Pitkäranta
1998 Rosegarden Open production Table. Interactive exhibition of Rosegarden-projects in Waino Aaltonen museum, Turku
2000 Interior design (with architect Erkki Pitkäranta) for FRAME office, Helsinki
2003 Armfelt’s Swan Lake. Installation/sculpture/Internet cafe for Meritalo school in Salo. Together with architect Erkki Pitkäranta
2009 Life on a Leaf. Jan-Erik Andersson’s total artwork and family house. Together with architect Erkki Pitkäranta
2011 Sounding Dome Sauna (with sound artist Shawn Decker). Onion shaped sauna with sound
2012 Heart Shaped Reed House. Dressing room house for the Sounding Dome Sauna
2016 Pehr Kalm Explosion. Portable artistic Greenhouse.
2023 Spruce-house. Jan-Erik Andersson’s total artwork and house for two persons. Together with architect Erkki Pitkäranta
2000 Stage set for Kahvikeitin 2000. Turku City Theatre
2002 Stage set for Boom, Boom. Turku City Theatre
2016 Design of six artistic tables for the company Beautiful Mistake www.beautifulmistake.fi Displayed on Habitare 2015.
Selected curatorial work
2004 Curator for the regional art exhibition Rotinat in Southern Savo
2007 Curator for the WILD – Fantasy and Architecture exhibition together with Jen Budney. Turku City Art Museum 25.5-16.9.2007
Museum of Contemporary Art,(Kiasma) Helsinki
Helsinki City Art Museum (HAM)
The collections of the Finnish State
The collections of the Finnish Art Foundation
Pori Art Museum
Tampere Art Museum
Turku Art Museum
Turku City Art Museum (Wäinö Aaltonen museum)
Espoo Art Museum
Oulu Art Museum
Kuopio Art Museum
Rauma Art Museum
Ars Nova Museum, Turku
Vehicle Administration Centre
Åbo Akademi University
Public Arts, Wakefield, UK
Visiting artist in Chicago Art Institute, Department of art and technology, 1996. Through the Chicago International Artist Program (CAIP)
Art-critic and essays on art in many different papers and magazines from 1980-, for example the Finnish magazines Taide (art), Valokuva (photography) , Muoto (design), Åbo Underrättelser (daily paper) and Turun Ylioppilaslehti (studentpaper)
Several prizes and grants among others two 5-year working grants and artist’s pension from the Arts Promotion Centre Finland
Positions of trust in society and other societal merits
Advisory Board of the Turku Arts Academy 2015-
Member of the VISTA committee for planning the future of the Arts field in Finland (Arts Promotion Centre Finland) 2009
The board of the Turku Arts Academy 1991-92
Arts Promotion Centre Finland (local) 1986-88
The editorial board of the Taide-Art Magazine 1986