They were here

Glowing sculpture installation
Lux Helsinki 2016. Tori Quarters, Sofiankatu

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They were here brings former residents of the historical city centre to life. I think people never truly disappear without a trace: we can still hear words, steps and even breaths taken from long ago. Persons from the past wander in the park, meet each other in the street and enjoy fresh air on the balcony.

In UV light, figures bent from wire and sprayed with fluorescent paint come to life like ghosts. These translucent characters blend in with their environment, and surroundings of the old quarters become part of the work. The stylised figures remind on line drawings, but are three-dimensional.

This first version of the installation consisted of 12 glowing sculptures. Later dozens of new figures have been added, representing different times from medieval age till the first half of the XX ct. For every new show I choose (and sometimes produce) sculptures fitting to the available environment and making the installation truly site-specific.

Photos: Alexander Reichstein