Concreate Urban Art Festival, held now for the second time, has clearly taken over Keran Hallit in Espoo, Finland. Keran Hallit is a huge former logistics center currently operating as a space for art, culture, sport, and other free-time activities. During the next few years, the halls will be demolished to make space for a new neighborhood.
During the first two weeks of April, over 40 artists were selected by “open call” to create a unique mixture of urban and contemporary art to the halls. The art has spread from the inner yard of the halls to a former loading hall and office spaces.
The art complex is a mix of street art, murals, graffiti, and other art forms. Artists have created art both on the enormous walls of the halls and in smaller office spaces. The temporary use allows the art to be bold and creative. Together with the murals painted in the area already last year, the festival has attracted many visitors around Finland.
Highlights include Timo Ahjotuli’s sculpture that is rather kinetic and reaches into common space with complex precision, if vaguely menacingly. The contemporary artist says it’s meant to reflect the “infiltration of technology into everyday life. Additionally, a more traditionally “street art” stencil vibe from the late 2000s is recalled here by Plan B, who creates an installation called “Church of Putin.” The handmade hall of liturgical glory and heavy-handed holy music pointedly satirizes the long-term (or “Eternal”) president of nearby Russia.
Kicking off the summer season of many events for the community arts center, Concreate 2021 manages to create a sense of place for those curious about the urban art scene that has reached into metropolitan (and many suburban) corners all over the world.
Concreate 2021 was organized in collaboration with Keran Hallit and the City of Espoo. The event is also sponsored by STO Finexter Oy, Molotow, Powerlift Finland Oy and Estonian Institute.