Artist and year

Jussi Valtakari, 2008.


The State Art Deposit Collection

Technology, Materials and Size

Sculpture, birch and watercolour, 32 x 12 x 10 cm.


Sculptor and painter Jussi Valtakari (born 1955) lives and works in Taivalkoski. He studied in the Lahti Art School from 1975 to 1978, in the Lahti Institute of Fine Arts from 1997 to 2000, and in 2002 in the Tampere School of Art and Communication.

Jussi Valtakari’s small-scale, playful wood sculptures draw inspiration from the Finnish tradition of puhdetyö, or “twilight work”, referring to work that was done indoors during twilight hours. Looking at Valtakari’s figures, some may recall Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s fictional character Emil of Lönneberga who has a penchant for getting involved in pranks and, as a consequence, is locked in a woodwork shed for a while for punishment. During the time Emil spends in the shed, he carves human figures out of wood, and produces altogether over three hundred sculptures.

Valtakari usually carves wood with a knife, but he is also using a file, a chisel, a scalpel carver, and even a nail file. Wood has been an important material to Valtakari from his childhood on.

Through his figures, Valtakari is commenting on the world. His ideas originate in everyday life, such as newspapers and his own observations.