Biennial-touched-100It was early in the morning (too early for us) last Saturday that Antti Laitinen set sail from New Brighton in his boat that he’d built from pine bark over recent weeks in the A Foundation. He was fortunate with the weather and tides being just about perfect for the crossing which can be really tricky.  These pictures are courtesy of the A Foundation, hopefully there will be some video online soon.

Now Antti has returned home but his exhibition featuring film and photos of previous works and a forest-like tree installation is well worth visiting.

Someone who did get to see the event wrote the following excellent report…

Artful Dodger

Imagine a white dorsal fin the size of half a tablecloth rising out of the River Mersey off Bootle docks. No wonder the ferry tooted. However, this was no shark, but a giant Finn called Antti Laitinen who was drifting at the mercy of a keen north wind and the incoming tide on a raft.

Certainly the oncoming tanker wouldn’t have noticed as the diminutive craft rode its wash. Thankfully the weather conditions were perfect as he headed up river into the brilliant sunshine.

Antii had set sail at 7.30am from New Brighton and was drawn across to the east bank down to the Pier Head by 9.30am before successfully negotiating the shipping lane to reach Cammell Lairds in tact, but numb with cold.
He had made the raft from nothing other than curls of bark, not of Cork Oak bark as you may have expected but of Scots Pine. It was no bigger than a hearth rug !

He is one of the numerous world renowned artists who make up Liverpool’s Biennial International Festival of Contemporary Art which runs until the end of November in various venues across the city.

This was a brilliantly executed ‘happening’ in an age when ‘risk assessment’ and insurance rates have killed off too many bold adventures. However, it was no Arthur Ransom lark. Antii had already navigated a similar raft across the equally busy Baltic channel between his home town Helsinki and the Hanseatic port of Tallin. On this occasion he sought expert advice from our renowned pilots and was escorted at a distance by a support vessel with a film crew on board.

Hopefully their video will soon accompany the startling exhibition of Antii’s previous events currently on show at  The A Foundation in Greenland Street (off Jamaica Steet, opposite Cains Brewery.)