The heart is one of the most widely-used semiotic symbols in the world. It is a universal representation of love and often seen as the place where a soul lives in. In art, the heart in its conventional and direct emotionality is often linked to a kitsch aesthetic.

In this art piece the hearts are patterns that emerge from the surface. They form countless networks that serve as paths from one space to another and open opportunities for new interpretations.

In Love Love, the familiar symbol is repeated thousands of times. It consists of 198 unique pink coloured steel plates with 140,000 laser cut illuminated hearts. The mural features so many hearts that they form a sea of symbols for the viewer to dive in.

As the evening fades, the work turns into a sea of thousands of light-shining hearts, which is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also an element that effectively and evenly illuminates the fairway. The lighting fixtures of the work are placed behind the plates. The walls behind the plates are painted white so that the light would be reflected as evenly as possible through the heart patterns.

In this representation, love no longer has a single object and, instead, begins to take new forms all around us. The experiential piece aims to make people see past the mundane day-to-day meanings and plunge freely into overwhelming sea of hearts.

Background

The Alberga gates’ underpass tunnel is in a busy area near Leppävaara station and shopping centre in Espoo, in the metropolitan area in Finland. The underpass serves visitors to the shopping centre, residents of the area and those passing through the railway station.

In year 2018, the City of Espoo organized an open art competition for the art work of the tunnel and received 90 proposals, of which the work ‘Love, Love (Tunnel of Love)’ was chosen as the winner. According to the jury, the formal language of Leinonen’s work is universally understood and proclaims the message of love, human values and caring for others.

The artwork, designed by architect and artist Akseli Leinonen, was completed in the summer of 2019. Lighting Designer Mia Erlin from WSP Finlands’ Design Studio designed the lighting together with the artist. WSP was also responsible for the electrical design of the lighting and the structural design of the whole implementation.

 “You walk the tunnel from end to end in about ten seconds. The warmth in the chest will be felt long after this.”


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