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Lönnström Project 7

Big Botanic

Pia Sirén | 2023–2025

Pia Sirén, Big Botanic.
Sketch 2023.

Big Botanic is a large participatory artwork that the audience can enter and interact with. Covering an area of several hundred square metres, it is a space open for all, where people can spend time and participate in events.

The work will be constructed in or near the centre of Rauma in autumn 2025. Like a travelling circus, the work will delight visitors for a fixed period of time, about two months.

Big Botanic will be constructed from weather protection scaffolding and transparent sheet covering. Using tarpaulins, plastic sheets, ropes and timber, Pia Sirén will create a unique tropical garden inside the structure where the public can move around freely and attend events such as concerts and workshops. The sculpture will be a living and active place where visitors can admire the abundance of artificial plants built from low-grade materials and participate in a programme planned specifically for the installation.

Big Botanic is an exploration of the built environment, nature and naturalness. Plastic is commonly regarded an ugly and artificial material that clutters and suffocates the environment, yet in Sirén’s work it is used to create an aesthetically interesting, attractive and thought-provoking world of plants. Reminiscent of a botanical garden, the work explores our contemporary relationship with nature and the longing for faraway places that is evoked in us by exotic plants.

While eminently physical and material, Big Botanic is an ephemeral performance rather than a sculpture. After a period of a couple of months, the work will be dismantled and ceases to exist as such. The scaffolding will be returned to serve its original purpose, and other materials will be recycled for reuse in the artist’s future works.

Pia Sirén (b. 1982) received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 2012. She is known for spatial sculptures that are like theatrical sets or artificial landscapes constructed from materials seldom used in art: scaffolding, tarpaulins and other building materials. Sirén has held several solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group exhibitions in Finland and internationally. She lives and works in Loviisa.