Art can take on many forms, and one of the most exciting aspects of contemporary art is the frequent use of nonconventional materials by artists to create their extraordinary masterpieces. Villu Jaanisoo, an Estonian sculptor currently based in Finland, is one such artist that pushes the boundaries of what is considered art by experimenting with different media to create his thought-provoking sculptures. An incredibly impressive example of one of these is his 2018 sculpture Elephant—a monumental work sculpted entirely from recycled tires and steel, which now stands in a public park in Jyväskylä, Finland.
“Used tires were available, always around,” the artist tells My Modern Met. “Environmental issues are important in terms of using these. But to me, more important has been the trace their former lives have left to those utilized things that I use for making something new, and also the idea of putting something familiar into a new context.”
Elephant is only one of Jaanisoo’s most recent recycled tire sculptures—the sculptor has started to experiment with the rubber material as early as 2001. Alongside this one, the subjects of his tire sculptures have also included a larger-than-life rubber duck, a gigantic gorilla, and towering palm trees. Each one brings a new and unique experience to the viewer, removing some of the more conventional ideas and associations they might have around the objects they are observing.
“In a way, I see my artworks as ‘reversed’ landscape paintings,” Jaanisoo reveals, “and my goal in making art has been to create different experiences of nature, light, and space. I believe that looking at sculpture should be an immediate, sensitive act; there is not so much to do with reason as it is about the feeling.”