‘THE SECRETLYWATCHED VISITORS WERE PROOF THAT HE WAS ACCEPTED, AND EVEN POSSIBLY HAD POTENTIAL FRIENDS.’
sense of success and approval must have been incredibly overwhelming. At first, Rönkkönen’s mother adopted a hostile attitude his work, while his father never communicated his opinion about the issue. Despite his withdrawn character and unwillingness to interact with them, the visitors were, in Rönkkönen’s opinion, very important. From indoors, he would observe those walking in the garden and draw conclusions from their behaviour. The artist left an archive of hundreds of photographs of visitors to the garden, all taken in secret through a crack in the window. There were also dozens of carefully read visitors’ books. Perhaps the tens of thousands of signatures and messages, like his photographs, were
a proof that he was accepted, and even possibly had potential friends. The audience influenced the content of the sculpture park. Rönkkönen used to make caricature-like sculptures of some of the most extraordinary visitors. The row of grotesque figures standing by the entrance path acts like a distorted mirror image of the audience. Right at the entrance, the garden turns into a carnival scene, where any strange or surprising statue is a natural part of the collection. Due to Rönkkönen’s problematic relationship with his mother, it is quite understandable that some female figures look rather frightening or self-righteous.
above Rönkkönen did not have any friends or anyone to play with when he was a child, yet his final sculptures depict children playing together and having fun. Perhaps these works helped him imagine having had a happy childhood.
International journal of outsider art, folk art, visionary art and Art Brut.