This autumn, visitors can watch a fast-paced graphic design performance at the airport. The results are arresting, but the message of the texts might not be clear to everyone. The language used in the posters is Chinese, and the method used by the artist is calligraphy.
The artist in question is the versatile Chinese multimedia artist Pan Jianfeng.
"Finnishness is one of those things that you cannot buy, like a cleanness, sisu, Finnish heroism, the design of your own life, and nature's miracles."
- In my art, I try to describe Finland to Chinese passengers. Finnishness is one of those things that you cannot buy, like a cleanness, sisu, Finnish heroism, the design of your own life, and nature's miracles such as the Northern lights. They can be witnessed when you least expect to see them, Pan explains.
Pan is the founder of design company SHTYPE and an independent visual artist, who has worked both as a chief design officer and a professional in the fields of typography and graphic design. The artist has a client list that includes international brands such as Coca-Cola, Nike and WWF.
While working on a number of projects related to Finland, Pan fell in love with the country, and he recently moved from Shanghai to Porvoo.
- For some reason, I feel like I’m at home here. There are a lot of similarities between the Chinese and the Finns. For example, both the Chinese and the Finns respect nature enormously, Pan says.
Helsinki Airport, which embodies Finnishness, speaks to the sincere artist.
- As soon as I arrive at Helsinki Airport, I regain my strength after travelling. You can even hear birds sing in the men’s room. The time difference and long queues disappear. It is an honour to display my art at Helsinki Airport, Pan says.
See the artist at work at Helsinki Airport on 24 August
Passengers travelling from the non-Schengen area can watch Pan Jianfeng working at Helsinki Airport on 24 August, as the artist paints a piece called It’s Truly a Country of Thousands Lakes on glass using calligraphy. The piece is inspired by a poem by Chinese poet Guo Moruo.
- In China, Finland is known as the country of thousands of lakes, because almost every schoolchild knows Guo Moruo’s description of Finland. Water is an important element for me. Here, my child can drink clean water straight from the tap. It is incredible, Pan says.
You can watch Pan work near gates 34–35 at Helsinki Airport on Wednesday 24 August at 1–6 p.m.
Growth from China
Collaboration with Pan Jianfeng supports Finavia’s goal of strengthening Helsinki Airport’s position as a leading transit airport between Europe and Asia.
"With Pan’s calligraphy, we can address our Chinese visitors through art."
- We have invested heavily in improving our service for Chinese passengers. With Pan’s calligraphy, we can address our Chinese visitors through art. In addition, these magnificent posters are a delight to everyone’s eyes, even if you do not understand the language, says Ville Haapasaari, Helsinki Airport director at Finavia.
The number of Chinese passengers at Helsinki Airport increased by approximately 50 per cent between 2014 and 2015. Last year, approximately 300,000 Chinese passengers visited the airport.
Helsinki Airport ranks as the fifth largest in Europe by the number of Asian connections. In 2016, Helsinki Airport services 17 direct destinations in Asia, of which five are in China.