Martti Aiha (born in 1952 in Pudasjärvi, lives in Fiskars) is a widely acknowledged artist, not least for public sculptures in Helsinki such as the starkly monumental Rumba (1992) at Salmisaari and the more ambient Länsilinkki (2011), an artistic articulation of a bridge for the ‘Western Link’ highway. Aiha’s idiosyncratic mix of frivolous automatism, reliable craftsmanship and heavy-duty construction became a hallmark of Finnish art in the 1980s and also earned him a following in the other Nordic countries. He was, for instance, awarded the Prince Eugene Medal in Sweden in 2013.
This kind of condensed blurb, while necessary and correct in a conventional way, nevertheless misses some fundamental points about an artist like Aiha, who has been developing his own tone or voice or logic in art since the mid-1970s. The continuous acts of creation that underpin his personality as an artist are driven by radical doubt and a relentless quest for newness. In actual fact he is a much ‘younger’ and more unpredictable artist than his biography indicates.