SKULPTUR now open in Princes Gardens


The President of the RBS, sculptor Terry New presented the exhibition from the side of the organisers on Wednesday, February 4th, at Princes Gardens in Kensington. The curator of the exhibition, Clare Mander, can be seen at the far right of the picture.


The Finnish Ambassador, His Excellency Pekka Huhtaniemi gave a lovely opening speech detailing Laila’s importance to Finnish sculpture, and even though he had nothing to “unveil” as such (as he joked), declared the exhibition open.


The crowd braved the fittingly Nordic conditions (5 celsius with light icy rain) in Princes Gardens, gathering around Hephaestus (1990) for the opening ceremony.


Laila said this, for her, marked a return for her to the city to which she made her first study trip as a young student in 1955, working in a hospital in Richmond for three days a week in order to spend the remaining three days in museums (The British Museum and it’s Egyptian Room was a particular favourite).


Pollux (2000) looking at Hephaestus (1990)


All photographs © Petra Piitulainen

Two of Laila’s sculptures take part in the SKULPTUR exhibition in London

Two sculptures by Laila Pullinen, Hephaestus (1990) and Pollux (2000) take part in the RBS‘s exhibition presenting Scandinavian sculpture, SKULPTUR. The exhibition opens on the 4th of January, and Laila’s works will be on show at Princes Gardens in London until January 2016.

We are pleased that the RBS chose this venue, as the majestic trees of the gardens replicate Nissbacka’s ancient oaks to a tee.

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POLLUX (2000, Mäntsälä red-and-black granite & polished bronze, 199x112x93 cm)

Like its “brother” Castor, Pollux incorporates both cast bronze and colourful Finnish granite (Mäntsälä red and black granite). The red arcs in the granite are integrated into the general structural composition of the piece, functioning as starting points for the motion captured in the sculpture, the material itself guiding the sculptor.

In Pullinen’s vocabulary, stone has a strongly corporeal feel, whereas bronze, particularly in its polished form, is an allegory of the abstract, of the spiritual.  These two elements form an almost Dualistic composition, which is central to all her bronze and granite pieces of the 1990’s and 2000’s.

In Pullinen’s words, “one can see the world taking shape in these stones”. The powerful forces that shaped the material remain engrained in it, waiting to be unlocked by an artist’s hand and the spectator’s experience.

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HEPHAESTUS (1990, cast bronze, 191x150x78 cm [plinth 21 cm])

Hephaestus was the Greek god of blacksmiths and sculptors, and that implied process of giving shape informs this sculpture. Laila Pullinen is perhaps best known for her 6-8 ft cast & polished bronze sculptures from the 1970’s and 80’s, and Hephaestus is a prime example of that series.

It retains the dimensions of an adult human being – which was evident on some of the bronzes of the 1970’s, yet has strong abstract leanings. As such it is, in Pullinen’s words, “an allegory for fixed, yet taut and strained motion”; of the abstract taking shape, of a state of perpetual becoming, of the shapeless being forged until it starts having a shape.


As London’s only privately-owned public square, the Gardens offer a beautiful green tranquil space in the heart of central London. Princes Gardens is located within easy walking distance of South Kensington Tube station and attractions, including the Royal Albert Hall, Natural History, Science and V&A museums, Harrods and Hyde Park.

Address: Watts Way, Off Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 1BA, United Kingdom

Nearest Underground Station: South Kensington Station.

Directions: At South Kensington station, turn right into the subway sign-posted for the museums and continue for approx. 5 minutes until you reach the very end of the subway. At the exit, cross the road and turn left up Exhibition Road walking towards Hyde Park. Take the second side street on the right that is Watts Way.