Outdoor installation for sea / lake / pond, etc.
Ground: 450 x 450 cm Height: approximately 500 cm

By Tea Mäkipää and Halldór Úlfarsson

Atlantis Wanas 1
Atlantis Malaga 4
Atlantis Malaga 3
Atlantis Malaga 2
Atlantis Malaga 1
Atlantis Wanas Forest
Atlantis, Finnland
Atlantis, Reykjavik
Atlantis, Wannas Schweden
Atlantis Wanas
Atlantis Moyland 1
Atlantis Moyland 2
Atlantis Moyland 3
Atlantis Arcus Japan
Atlantis Budapest
Atlantis Budapest 1
Atlantis Rostock 1
Atlantis Rostock 2

Click image to enlarge.


A corner of a house surfaces from the water. In the parts that are visible, life seems to continue. Warm house lights shine forth from the dark waves. From the watery depths, we hear the quiet sound of singing and arguing. 

Atlantis is a dream-like vision, a reminder of the vulnerability of our modern lifestyle. This accident could have multiple causes. Some of these are a product of the human settlement itself. Some individual inhabitants of Atlantis have refused to leave their homes and are continuing their daily life, ignoring the surrounding water.

Atlantis at Wanås – a dream project by Tea Mäkipää

In the 22nd year of art exhibitions at Wanås radical changes took place. The Wanås Foundation made ecologically sustainable choices throughout its operation. As always it started with the artists. Many artists today address global environmental issues and nature plays an important role in contemporary art. The participating artists this year 2009 in the exhibition at Wanås titled FOOTPRINTS had all in common a concern about the world we share. In artistic expressions they address the great environmental problems that mankind faces and add a voice to the economic, political and scientific information which dominate the media. In the process those who are confronted by these works of art may gain more insight into the most important issues of our time.

Tea Mäkipää was the perfect artist in a venue with focus on organic and environmental issues. She has really made these issues a so essential part of her entire art work and from early on decided to tackle serious issues, such as global warming, in her work. “I think these questions are part of being a human being and finding our position among the other living creatures on this planet. Spending my childhood in Finland in the 1970ies and 1980ies, we already got introduced to these problems through school education and public discussion. The emotional value of nature experience, finding joy while surrounded by flora and fauna and spending time with various animals is an important part of my life and thinking.” TM, interview in The Independent, 2014.

She was our dream artist, an obvious choice in a group of seven artists chosen by curator Elna Svenle and myself . It was an exhibition of great importance for the Wanås Foundation as the farm at Wanås is run organically since 1999. Now ten years later the art foundation changed and also became organic. As co - curators Elna Svenle and I invited Tue Greenfort, Henrik Håkansson, Tomas Saranceno and Nilsmagnus Sköld together with Tea Mäkipää and Halldór Ulfarsson. Every artist did new projects which all reflected, in the most different ways, the alarming situation of nature being destroyed at a fast pace. Suddenly the environmental issue was added to the other concerns of the Foundation which were at that time : the annual exhibitions, the educational program, the publishing of books and organizing seminars. Since then the environmental aspect has become a strong and major part of the entire program of the Wanås Foundation.

It was a playful and fun show much because of Tea Määkipää´s participation. As most artworks at Wanås are site specific it means that the artists´ visit for a first feeling of the place, a long and interesting process and dialogue around the proposal involving visits to the studio, models and sketches and then a longer stay to make the work. This last phase involved getting to know each other and a close relationship between Elna Svenle, me and Tea Mäkipää developed as well as with the team of assistants . Staying for some time which Tea Mäkipää did we really had a chance to talk about politics and her strong loyalty to environmental issues. The entire art process was always joyous with Tea Mäkipää and her co -artist Halldór Ulfarsson, both showing great professionalism. Atlantis was a major piece in the exhibition and was made at Wanås. To place the house out in the lake was quite dramatic – an event which is still spoken about among the “legends and rumours” of Wanås. We also took our time in making a choice of the other art works to show by Tea Mäkipää . She has a wonderful sense of humour too which comes through in her DVD about her trip to Dubai, 10 Commandments for the 21st Centrury : Crusade to UAE, 2007 . It is such a strong visual example what it means to travel by bus, boat, train – by organic means. The images show a beautiful trip instead of the usual images of boring airports and security ordeals.
Atlantis also became the main point of interest of the show as a whole and its image is on the of the catalogue ´s front cover of 2009. Atlantis was the perfect art work for the context at Wanås. Conceptually this romantic little house became very strong with the castle from the Middle Ages as a back drop. It was almost absurd with the sinking house in front of the very sturdy and old stone fortress from 1480. This archetypical example of a house which is so characteristic for the Nordic countries made the audience identify with the little household which was sinking into the lake.

Two seminars took also place on the different subjects – and Tea Mäkipää participated in both, fall of 2009 as well as spring 2011, adding her point of view as an artist to the mostly political issues which were debated. The Wanås foundation is convinced that every change counts – big as well as small when it comes to environmental decisions. Yes we can – yes we can change . Atlantis , the music still on in the house in spite of the endangered situation, reflects perfectly “the general take of what communities, countries, companies and individuals have on global warming: We pretend it does not exist and keep ongoing as usual.” TM

Tea Mäkipää´s very strong installation at Wanås 2009 made this very clear and the art work became a fantastic positive force in the debate. She is one of those artist who in spite of the grim prospects of the earth being in the process of destruction her aim is to look ahead and be optimistic. By Tea Mäkipää´s humour and I would call it love for mankind she shows in her many works, and especially in Atlantis a deep belief in mankind ´s ability to change. Her work can act as reminder of our responsibilities to the planet. Our shared home.

Marika Wachtmeister