The Young Artist of the Year 2023 Eetu Huhtala – pillow fort & other soft things

The sculptor Eetu Huhtala has been chosen as the Young Artist of the Year 2023. Eetu Huhtala’s oeuvre consists of mechanical and large-scale metal sculptures and other multisensory works. His conceptual creations are based on workaday objects and technical devices that function contrary to expectations and reason, with no objective. Huhtala is the recipient of a 20,000 euro award from the City of Tampere including the opportunity to hold a solo exhibition in Tampere Art Museum. Eetu Huhtala is the 39th Young Artist of the Year.

Eetu Huhtala (b.1993 in Äänekoski) lives and works as a sculptor in Helsinki. He graduated with an M.A. in Art from the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki in 2021. Eetu Huhtala’s works have been presented in curated group exhibitions both in Finland and abroad. He has also held solo exhibitions in the Exhibition Laboratory Project Room and Galleria Sculptor in Helsinki. Huhtala produced his first public work Another for Dance House Helsinki in 2022. His works can be found in the collections of the Jenni and Antti Wihuri Foundation in Rovaniemi Art Museum and the Saastamoinen Foundation in EMMA (Espoo Museum of Modern Art) as well as in numerous private collections.

Eetu Huhtala describes his own work as follows:

My oeuvre consists of mechanical and large-scale metal sculptures and other multisensory works. The way I work stems from personal experiences as well as broader societal issues. In it, the human experiences on which it is founded are linked to everyday, familiar objects whose forms and functions I often use in my works. My aim is to create by means of sculpture individual moments, events and experiences that are at the same time familiar to us but also extraneous, foreign.

Eetu Huhtala presents the workaday objects and technical devices that form the basis of his conceptual and often kinetic sculptures by distancing them from their original functions. Important things seem to be going on in the works, but in actual fact the process is purposeless. For example, Huhtala displays a bath tub which despite all efforts never fills with water, a frozen bench on which it is impossible to sit, an aluminium house that provides no warmth or shelter. The objects do not fulfil their designated functions and purposes. They are stuck in their places or fixed in their futile mechanical repetition.

Eetu Huhtala’s works express the consumption and wastage of energy and resources. They reflect the human world of experience beside everyday objects that belong to the contemporary scientific, technological and consumer society. His work is associated with multiple feelings of frustration, impotence and powerlessness. The human being strives for certain goals, but often matters do not progress but rather fail and bring disappointment, the feeling that in the end the effort is futile. Society wastes a plethora of its resources, or they are misdirected and pointless.