Jannisoo’s rubber tyre duck

Tallin-born sculptur Villu Jaanisoo is a master of transforming all sorts of worn out things into beautiful and thought-provoking stuff. I stumbled upon one of his masterpieces – Rubber Duck – at this year’s Örebro OpenART, an outdoor exhibition taking place in Örebro, Sweden. Quite different from the little yellow fella many of us keep in the bathtub!

Rubber Duck

Villu Jaanisoo’s Rubber Duck at Järntorget in Örebro.

Made from recycled car tyres, the duck measures 350 x 380 x 300 cm. Jaanisoo, who also heads the Sculpture Department in the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, explains that the material “functions in a way that the form and surface structure of the duck become almost baroque-like, relating the work with the tradition and history of sculpture making.”

Jaanisoo and his Rubber Duck made from car tyres. Photo credit: svt.se

Örebro is home to many ducks and birds. Järntorget is a famous square next to Örebro Castle. But why has our rubber friend landed here? “It is important how the work relates to the environment where it is situated, how the work itself adjusts to the history and characteristics of the site” says its maker. I don’t get it. It feels misplaced. Stranded.

Örebro Slott

700 years old Örebro Castle.

The duck is soft. It smells funny. It invites for climbing. After walking around the square, pondering for a little while, I have decided what Jaanisoo’s duck means to me. The importance of having a healthy approach to consumption. Even the most trashy, smelly and deteriorating pile of things can be recycled and transformed into beautiful stuff!

Oxford Tire Pile #5 Westley, California, USA, 1999. Photo credit: Edward Burtynsky

Leaving Örebro by car, I cannot help but thinking of my Volvo V40’s tyres. How often will I have to replace them? Will I ever get a flat tire? I almost wish to one day have enough rubber to create something. Perhaps a castle? One thing is certain, my tyres will not keep adding to mountains like the one pictured above. It is time for change.

The Rubber Duck will be on display in Örebro until 1 September 2013, when it will move back home to Retretti Art Center in Punkaharju, Finland.

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