The monument made of stainless steel and granite is called Höyhen. Placed in the Hippos sports park on the shore of Köyhälammi, the polished black granite slab of the work has the face of young Matti Nykänen engraved in a sketchy manner, but the steel sculpture itself, as its name suggests, resembles a feather.
Nykänen’s family and many others had also hoped that a statue of a look-alike would have been selected as a memorial. The sculptor who created the piece Kaarina Kaikkonen defends the choice made by saying that it is about public art that should work for a long time and also for people who may not remember Nykä.
– The monument has many levels. It should also live as a work of art in the future and be part of the environment.
Kaikkonen considers it good in itself that there has been a discussion about the matter. It is already positive that art speaks at all.
– I have made my own vision of Matti Nykäne. Let people talk. It is good for everyone to hear different points of view.
Towards the sky
The shape of the feather is made up of several adjacent ski-like parts. The center rods of the feather adapt to the curve of the ski jumper and together form a “track”. At the top of the slope, there are skis pointing towards the sky that resemble Nykänen’s first skis and on the other hand symbolize the last jump. The direction from the top upwards gives the impression of flying away from this world, towards another dimension.
Those are the words used to describe the monument weighing 56 tons and costing 140,000 euros in the bulletin of the city of Jyväskylä. Kaarina Kaikkonen says that as a material, steel with its reflections brings the lightness that she wanted to the work.
He says that he thought about why ski jumping was chosen as Nykänen’s sport. The central idea was the desire to present the feeling of taking off.
– It must be a great feeling when you push yourself off the edge of a jumper and then fly for a while, without gravity. It is something that the common man can only dream of when we are prisoners of gravity.
Kaarina Kaikkonen says that she followed the career and achievements of Matti Nykänen, who excelled in the 1980s, with enthusiasm. He sees that the success of the multiple Olympic champion and world champion played an important role.
– After all, it and sports in general are of enormous importance to Finns’ identity and national pride. I also felt great pride, I watched all the winning jumps and cheered along with the others, says Kaikkonen.
Nykänen’s monument was commissioned by the city of Jyväskylä. The city council chose Kaikkonen’s work out of six alternatives. The decision to implement it was made in 2020.
– It’s great that we finally get to announce the monument to the general public, chairman of the monument working group, vice-chairman of the Jyväskylä City Council Sea Snowmelon (green) says in the announcement.
In addition to Lumela and Kaikkonen, the mayor of Jyväskylä was also included in the program of the memorial unveiling event Timo Koiviston and the director of the elite sports unit of the Finnish Olympic Committee Matti Heikkinen speaking engagements.