Photo: Savu E. Korteniemi.

Savu E. Korteniemi


In July 2021 I visit Valaskivi monolith in the hinterland of Metelivaara hill, close to Konttajärvi village and lake in Torne Valley. On the opposite shore of the lake is my grandfather’s birthplace, which is also the place of my childhood summers. However, it is only recently that I have heard of the existence of that ancient sacred stone. I feel uncomfortable in the humid, mosquito-breeding forest, even though I am not far from the road. I’m not far at all.

After discovering Valaskivi, I’ve visited it a few times each year to greet the stone. Valaskivi provides a focal point, a reason to return. It welcomes me, but the encounters do not remove the sense of foreignness.

I tell the stone that I have an exhibition coming up. I promise not to exhibit the stone, not to take pictures of it, because this stone does not belong to my public any more than it belongs to me.

In October 2022, I spend a month in Tromsø, in the north of Norway, in the middle of the mountains. The scenery is beautiful, but dusk comes early and it almost always rains. On an evening walk, I glance down at the asphalt gleaming in the streetlight. I pick up some small gravel stones, just the ordinary ones.

-Savu E. Korteniemi

Savu E. Korteniemi graduated with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in 2013 from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, the Department of Sculpture. They live and work in Rovaniemi, Finland. Korteniemi is interested in the very essence of objects, and how one can give shape to things out of reach. At the heart of Korteniemi’s current artistic practice is the question of what kind of thinking and expression the North produces; it is not a question of adding local colour but of acknowledging that, as a human activity, art also takes place in the world, in a certain time and place. This perspective was also present in Korteniemi’s previous solo exhibition at Gallery Sculptor, Naarmankaira in 2017.

In recent years, Savu E. Korteniemi expanded their work into writing and curating. In 2021 and 2023 they have been a member of the curatorial team of the Young Arctic Artists group exhibition produced by the Artists’ Association of Lapland, and they have written articles for cultural magazines such as Mustakala, Kaltio and Taide Magazine.

Please note: before year 2020 Savu E. Korteniemi has worked as an artist under the name Sanna Korteniemi.

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