Rya, steel and electromechanics
Year of acquisition: 2016
A colourful rug spins in a never-ending loop on a metal frame. The artist Pia Männikkö tells about the work: “I was studying at the Glasgow School of Arts in Scotland. I often caught the train to visit exhibitions in Edinburgh, and part of the rail line between the two cities is quite densely overgrown; there are no buffer zones around the tracks, so the train literally brushes against the vegetation as its speeds by. Travelling by train is like air travel – no matter what country or continent you’re in, the view always looks the same. The piece comments on how we all share the same experience – and how small the world ultimately is.”
The rug is pieced together from thirty patches made by the artist using the traditional Finnish rya technique. The rolling rug is based on an old trick used in cinema and theatre: the background spins while the actors stay still, creating the illusion of movement. The mechanics were invented by the artist. When planning the design, she built miniature models and tested to see how fast the rug had to spin in order for the pattern to appear blurry.
1971, Finland. Lives in Helsingissä.
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Pirje Mykkänen