Petri Eskelinen Social Animal


“My works are thought experiments transformed  into functional and corporeal instruments. What’s a collective herd animal like? What would my biomass be in another form? What if two people only listened to each other?

The main work of the exhibition, Laumaeläin (Social Animal), is a momentary and delicate organism, a structure learning to walk and breathe. It has eleven chairs that – depending on the amount of people on them – control the mechanical herd, making it move and breathe. One can slowly swing on the chairs, which makes the social animal’s corresponding joint breathe at the same pace. The motion is transmitted pneumatically by using medical syringes. The more swingers, the more comprehensively the herd breathes – fragmentarily or harmoniously. In my opinion, analogic motion is a direct physical continuation to the movement of the body. Thus a person who allows the rhythm of their body to become a part of the sculpture can be thought as one variable in the group.

While Social Animal unites the group as one, on Biomassa (Biomass) one becomes many. Biomassa consists of a chair that interprets the body. It’s nineteen pneumatic spots guide nineteen mechanical flowers, which are brought to life by each participant who sits on the chair. The participant can move and squirm like a worm. The strain of our bodies’ biomass in the ecosystem can be calculated using different agreed units of measure. Biomass suggests new units of measures that might help us understand our changing world better. Plants account for 82% of all biomass on the planet.

Tunneli (Tunnel), the work in the studio space, gives two people a chance to concentrate on listening and manipulating the noise between them. Two people don’t form a group but a tighter unit – the participants of the work are equal. There are drawings that refer to natural phenomena – both smaller and larger than human scale, both microscopic and satellite images, both, microseconds and centuries.

The works are not perfect machines, they’re more like dreams that require care. They come with instructions including pictures and texts. Follow them.”

Sculptor Petri Eskelinen (b.1975) has held numerous exhibitions and created public works – for instance to the new children’s hospital in Helsinki. Eskelinen graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in 2006. His works are often based on invention, problem solving and transforming impossible ideas into three-dimensional artworks. Many of Eskelinen’s mechanical works allow participation; they are, in a way, social experiences that only appear in their entirety to the ones watching.

Wondering how Eskelinen’s sculptures function? Visit the artist’s work diary on Instagram!

The exhibition has been supported by Arts Promotion Center and The Finnish Cultural Foundation.

The artist is present at the gallery each Sunday from 12noon–2pm, guiding visitors and showing how to use Social Animal.

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