Artist(s):Eeva Renvall Date:1986 Medium:textile Dimensions:600 x 520 cm (total dimensions for five parts)

Eeva Renvall’s (née Waris, 1917–2011) large-scale textile work Mikrocosmos (1986) hung in the Faculty of Medicine building Mikro until its demolition in spring 2019. Donated by the Turku University Foundation on 5 September 1986, the work was inspired by its original site. The disciplines taught in the building, virology and microbiology, are represented in the artwork’s lower and upper parts as viruses spinning in the centrifuge and bacteria attacking from the sky. The two parts’ dominant colours refer to the red and blue used on the different floors of the building, which also correspond to the disciplines’ locations in it. A stylised question mark crosses the work’s steel-grey background, joining together the two parts and the disciplines they denote. Although the building that served as the work’s inspiration no longer exists, this part of the University’s history is preserved in Renvall’s Mikrocosmos.

In the mid-1930s, Renvall studied at Miss Allén’s weaving school in Turku and in 1937–1943 at the Central School of Applied Arts’s Department of Textile Art in Helsinki. In the 1950s, she set up her own weaving mill in Kauniainen. Renvall was one of the leading Finnish textile artists of the 1960s and 1970s, and the only Nordic artist to participate in the Wall Hangings exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in 1969. She is particularly remembered for figurative artworks that combine different yarns and textures, of which Mikrocosmos is also representative. Renvall was the daughter of textile artist Katri Warén-Varis (1891–1973).

Emma Vuolaslempi 2024

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