I Am

Total Artwork in  Kouvola Lutheran congregation hall, 2004

The collaboration between Andersson and archtiect Erkki Pitkäranta reached a new level with the work in Kouvola. Pitkäranta was commissioned to plan a restauration of the existing congregation building of the Lutheran church in Kouvola. A part of the commission was to design a new congregation hall as an extension to the existing building. The new hall is made extensively from wood and shows that wood is a fabulous material for making organic shapes. The walls of the hall are sligtly curved and gives the hall an extraordinary feling into wich the art work, planned by Andersson and Pitkäranta together and designed by Andersson, is integrated in the building structure.

On the floor of the main path, leading through the hall, is a dance with coloured footsteps inserted in sand coloured ceramic plates, which symbolizes the walk through the desert of the Israeli people. The footsteps lead to an elevated platform in the shape of a half circle. On the platform in a lit box under a transparent glass are the sandals of Moses made of dried wheat by artist Pertti Toikkanen, who is known for his works made of edible materials.

On the curved end wall behind the platform a tree, shaped as two hands, rises from the floor. The branches form people sitting in the tree as well as a blue figure of Christ in the center made as a glass art work by Jari Hangassalo after a design by Andersson. Behind the Christ figure is a window, which allows daylight to light up the art work.

To the left of the tree is a relief representing the burning bush, where the fire is a glass work made by Hangassalo after Andersson’s design. The glass work is lit by fiberoptics inside the relief. The twelve tree sticks attached to the bush refer to the twelve apostoles. On the right of the central tree is a relief, also executed as a glasswork, which shows the holy spirit as a candle flame divided in three.

Photos: Jussi Tiainen, details: Jan-Erik Andersson