The River by the Mountain

A total art work in Masala church, 2000

Masala church, close to Helsinki, is the first church of the 21:th century in Finland. It is designed by architect Erkki Pitkäranta. With no outside budget for an art work, he asked if Jan-Erik Andersson wanted to cooperate and make an art work, which should use the architectonic structures, in this case the walls and the floor. But also extending to church textiles and clothes for the priests. Thus the art work became a Rosegarden project, The River by the Mountain. Pikäranta sketched the theological themes and Andersson made the visualization, of course under frequent discussions with Pikäranta.

1. The River. From the paradise a four armed river floats, pictured on the floor by computer cut ceramic tiles. The arms form a triangle, a square and two circels. A big Star of Betlehem is mirrored in the centre of the river, which arms are partly covered by chairs. If you sit on one of the chairs you might find a small fish under your feet, cut in a ceramic tile. The River, starting from the altar, also symbolizes the spread of the Gospel in the four quarters.

2. The Mountain. Behind the altar a mountain of triangular, circular and quadrangular shapes rises. It is cut by a long narrow window in two halves. Triangular, circular and quadrangular metallic frames were first welded onto metallic supports in the wall, then spray-filled with concrete and painted dark brown. The mountain is used as a symbol in many parts of the Bible. The most famous is perhaps the Sermon on the Mount.

3. The symbols of the Evangelists; Matthew, as an angel, welcomes the visitor by the door, cut in ceramic tiles, and in the other three directions you can find Mark as a lion, Luke as an ox and John as an eagle. They all have the primary shapes, the triangel, the circel and the square, as details on them, connecting them to the Mountain and also to the shapes of the four arms of the River.
The clothes of the priests and the church textiles were hand made by Ann Jonasson after designs by Pitkäranta and Andersson.