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Baculum

Exhibition  /  11 Mar 2012  -  01 Jun 2012
Published: 18.06.2012
Deutsches Jagd- und Fischereimuseum
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Intro
(...) The baculum (Os penis or Os priapi) is the penile bone possessed by all mammals except human beings. It is thought that the purpose of the baculum is connected to reproductive strategies and the preservation of species. (...)

Artist list

Helena Lehtinen, Eija Mustonen, Karen Pontoppidan, Miro Sazdic, Nelli Tanner, Tarja Tuupanen
The baculum (Os penis or Os priapi) is the penile bone possessed by all mammals except human beings. It is thought that the purpose of the baculum is connected to reproductive strategies and the preservation of species. The bone makes it possible for extended periods of mating. Even human-like chimpanzees have penile bones. The bone is a mythical object that holds magical significance. In Finno-Ugrian folkloric traditions, the penile bones of bears were worshipped. When a piece of jewellery is worn as an amulet  on the body, it’s significance changes again.

Jewellery made by Helena Lehtinen, Eija Mustonen, Karen Pontoppidan, Miro Sazdic, Nelli Tanner and Tarja Tuupanen open new significances for baculum by exploring general meanings or inventing totally new interpretations. Meanings are symbolic, everyday and archetypal. Bone can be looked at as an object with aesthetical value, as a material for jewellery, or just as a bone.

Helena Lehtinen's pieces include references to the reproductive capacity of penile bones, not only as a tool for aiding reproduction but also as the enabler of the birth of new families and new growth.  Similar reproductive themes are used by Miro Sazdic but from a different point of view. Puppet like figures pose questions of our possibility to be chosen. Where do those who aren’t selected end up? Supremacy of life and death is the most crucial question with these pieces.

The pieces done by Eija Mustonen are connected to themes of life and death. The penile bone exists on the border between the two, by making life possible but also referencing the death that is always present in life. Similar contrary themes are present in Nelli Tanner's pieces as well:  absence and presence, sulek-burcu-emptiness-2015 and completion. Bone is only bone without the penis that belongs to it. At the same time, penile bone is only a relic.  Probably due to evolution human beings do not need it any more. In Mustonen's and Tanner's pieces, the baculum is transforming into something else. Their pieces are like tools but in a different way. Tanner's pieces are a sort of reminiscent of hunting knives longing for a sheath. Emptiness is present in Mustonen's pieces as well, the medallion is just an empty envelope missing something.

Karen Pontoppidan’s pieces are connected with the mythical conception of Adam's rib from which Eve was created. The baculum is connecting traditional sexes by combining them. The border between male and female fades out:  male is female and female is male. The lack of the bone in human beings has become part of the female mythologically and it underlines women's possibilities in giving birth.

In Tarja Tuupanen's pieces the penile bone is in touch with the penis, the flesh that has pink colour and split form.  The penis has lost its power when it is only an empty form. The mythology connected to the penile bone has disappeared: bone is only bone and flesh is only flesh. The power of the penis has vanished.

Text by Päivi Ruutiainen

Remarks

Meet the artists Helena Lehtinen, Eija Mustonen, Karen Pontoppidan, Miro Sazdic, Nelli Tanner and Tarja Tuupanen during the special event at the Deutsches Jagd- und Fischereimuseum on Sunday the 18th of March from 13.00 - 16.00

Opening hours:
Daily from 9.30 to 17.00 (last entrance 16.15)
Thursday until 21.00 (last entrance 20.15)
Eija Mustonen. Pendant: Untitled, 2011. Oxidized silver. Eija, MustonenPendant: 2011Oxidized silverPhoto: Maisa Malila. Eija Mustonen
Pendant: Untitled, 2011
Oxidized silver


Eija, Mustonen
Pendant: 2011
Oxidized silver
Photo: Maisa Malila
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Helena Lehtinen. Piece: Baculum family, 2012. Gold. Helena Lehtinen
Piece: Baculum family, 2012
Gold
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Miro Sazsic. Rosary: Jerk-off, 2012. Racoon baculum, paper clay. The madness of the object. It lies along a line of spectrum of things. It might be a very ordinary form of madness. The madness lies in the hidden movements of the hand […] It lies in the hands power and pleasure in giving itself over to the demands of the object […] What strikes me here is the need for a made thing to tell a story, to become a vehicle for a voice, an impulse of character […] The thing acquires a life
.  - Kenneth Gross, “Puppet: an essay on uncanny life. Miro Sazsic
Rosary: Jerk-off, 2012
Racoon baculum, paper clay
The madness of the object. It lies along a line of spectrum of things. It might be a very ordinary form of madness. The madness lies in the hidden movements of the hand […] It lies in the hands power and pleasure in giving itself over to the demands of the object […] What strikes me here is the need for a made thing to tell a story, to become a vehicle for a voice, an impulse of character […] The thing acquires a life
 - Kenneth Gross, “Puppet: an essay on uncanny life

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Helena Lehtinen. Piece: Baculum family, 2012. Mixed media. Helena Lehtinen
Piece: Baculum family, 2012
Mixed media
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Helena Lehtinen. Piece: Baculum family, 2012. Mixed media. Helena Lehtinen
Piece: Baculum family, 2012
Mixed media
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Nelli Tanner. Object: Baculum collection, 2012. Small-leaved lime, elk bone, balsa wood. Nelli Tanner
Object: Baculum collection, 2012
Small-leaved lime, elk bone, balsa wood
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