Michelle and I drove from Oslo, through Sweden to our most northern point of our “Intermission Year” at Kalix, before driving down the length of Finland to Helsinki, then on the ferry to Estonia.
We were hosted at our friend, Kara at her cabin on the island of Saaremaa, in the Mandjala district. While visiting the Kuresaarre Castle, Michelle and I discovered the exhibition “Human Head”, by Jass Kasselan within the fortress.
Kasselan works in steel and his exhibition of abstract figurative sculptures were inspired by his residency at the Castle’s Museum. In his artist statement, he said he was not so much interested in accurately depicting the human form, but wanted to celebrate the steel medium of his work for this exhibition. Using linear steel pieces, there did not appear to be too many instances of the material being bent, and many of the compositions were angular, but there was enough plasticity to invoke the curves of the human figure.
Being one who loves the female leg, the three sculptures featuring legs captured my attention. Blending whimsy and elegant form, Kasselan depicted the female leg supporting a hollow box, as horns on a warrior helmut and as a single entity striding on an I-beam.
Whether in a high heel shoe or naked, he imbued a sensual elegance in his rendering of feet.
The sculptures made me smile, from a girl seeming to joyfully raise her hands out of a bath to a ladder to climb up into the thoughts of a broadly moustachioed gentleman.
Kasselan sculpted heads with a softness that belies the hard material. He left the raw features of bolts, springs, clamps and hinges as details for hair, yet managed to hammer out roundness in the steel that reminded me of the marble curve forms of my own work.
The setting of the medieval castle was a perfect backdrop for this art exhibition in dark metal. It was interesting for me to see the human form sculpted in another hard medium and how this artist approached the subject.