This year, Jani Leinonen, a world-renowned artist, is responsible for the impressive floral Easter egg in the Steinhalle of the Dolder Grand. The installation «Seed in Their Pocket» can be enjoyed alongside it, whereby Leinonen implemented themes of current social issues for both the installation and the Easter egg design. The Finn has a long-standing relationship with the traditional Zurich hotel, which made this art coup possible.
Jani and the finished floral egg installation.
He is one of the most sought-after artists in the world and his works always captures the pulse of the times. The Finnish artist has recently completed a particularly special project for the Dolder Grand – he created the design for the annual 2.5-meter-high Easter egg, which can be enjoyed at the main entrance.
Decorated with over 12,000 carnations by the in-house florist team of four ladies over several days of craftsmanship, it bears the incomparable signature of the artist.
«When the Dolder Grand approached me with this Easter project, I was amazed by the fact that it was made of real flowers. These colourful and beautiful organisms are of great cultural importance,» says Leinonen.
Inside the Dolder Grand on display: «Chapel of Remorse» by Jani Leinonen.
120 famous works of art, including Dalí, Murakami and Tinguely, enhance the ambiance of the Dolder Grand. The Finnish artist’s works have been exhibited at the hotel since 2009, and there are currently six pieces on display. Getting the 44-year-old artist to design the Easter egg this year was a major coup, not least because Jani’s unmistakable style and his unique ability to create pieces that reflect societal issues in a provocative way have made him famous across the globe.
«I’m not particularly religious, but I live in a Christian culture and grew up with stories from the Bible,» says Leinonen.
For him, the story of Easter is one of the most fascinating. For Jani, Jesus’ last words on the cross are the most important aspect: Forgive them, for they know not what they do.
«These words are as relevant today as they ever were, as he says these words to the soldiers who are blindly following orders from their superiors.»
He therefore decided to bring across this message on the Easter egg with just a single word: FORGIVE.
The «Seeds in Their Pockets» installation is also on display alongside the egg. It comprises dried flowers the artist collected in war zones, each with a tag bearing the name of the country in which Leinonen found it. On the day Russia invaded the Ukraine, the Finn read a newspaper article and wrote a poem. It is the story of a Ukrainian woman who meets a Russian soldier and tells him to put sunflower seeds in his pocket so that flowers grow at the place where he dies. «For me, this is a really strong image of war. I discovered that flowers grow on many of the battlefields in these war-torn countries, and it’s mostly the national flowers of the countries.»
I had the pleasure to explore Jani’s works and the making of the installation life at the Dolder Grand this week, followed by a lovely luncheon on the terrace in the presence of the artist.
The egg installation will be on display until Wednesday, April 20, 2022.
Photos: © Dolder Grand and © Sandra Bauknecht
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