A SCULPTURE ACTION BETWEEN ARTS, POLITICS AND SCIENCE
Nuppu is a sculpture in the shape of a bud. It contains natural seeds from a wide variety of plants, including trees.
The project promotes innovation in the Arts, it prioritises sustainable life in the cities, and it supports knowledge about bio-diversity.
What is the Nuppu project?
In 2007 visual artists Egle Oddo (Italy), Anu Miettinen (Finland) and Nastia Eliseeva (Russia), set up the Nuppu Group with the aim to create a public artwork that protects bio-diversity. They name the project nuppu, bud in Finnish, and they design a sculpture containing natural seeds from edible and non-edible species of plants, including trees, to be protected and ensured for the future of the planet.

Why Nuppu?
Protecting bio-diversity through artistic research is the main concept of Nuppu project. It combines sculpture and action performance with politics and scientific research. Since its foundation, the Nuppu project seeks innovation in conceiving and proposing art.

How does it work?
Nuppu is a bronze sculpture 9 meters high, in the shape of a bud. It has no plinth, it rises directly from the ground. The stem divides into leafs connected to a central pistil which hosts a sealed container. There is an internal system able to keep ventilation, constant temperature and pressure for the seeds. The container, the ventilation system as well as the mechanical parts that open the leafs, do not need electricity to work.
The sculpture opens every two years and the seeds are distributed for free to any public/private individual/entity who offers to take care of them; new seeds are placed inside and the sculpture is sealed again.

Where the seeds come from?
Every person can contribute and donate seeds from their garden.
Nuppu Group has access to bio-certified cultivated land in Europe where the natural seeds can be reproduced during all seasons in complete respect of bio-certified production for unlimited time, so that the project can be perpetual.

Which kind of art it is?
It’s difficult to find an exhisting art category for Nuppu, as new forms of artistic dialogue with Nature are arising constantly in younger generations. Seeds have their special place in artistic experimentation, and artists often employ seeds physically or conceptually to create artworks. It is nonetheless an innovative step to have a sculpture containing live seeds as a permanent public artwork, because the issues related to bio-diversity need to be put in prospective with common priorities. Nuppu performs a creative gesture of aesthetic power.

Is Nuppu Bio art?
Yes and no. Nuppu shares with Bio artists the concern for social and ethical impact of science in the contemporary society, and it brings awareness of our relationship with Mother Nature. Nuppu trusts Nature and try to bring such trust within the community. As Leonardo da Vinci stated "Nature is full of infinite reasons which never appeared in experience" (“La natura è piena d’infinite ragioni, che non furono mai in isperienza.”, Leonardo da Vinci, Codice I, 1492-1516, 18 r.), to recall us that Nature’s reasons are not always accessed by men’s experiences.
Nuppu diverges from Bio Art because it does not investigate anatomy or biomorphism in search for new aesthetic values, does not exhibit insects or plants in boxes inside museums or galleries. Nuppu doesn’t manipulate biological elements for artistic experimentations. The focus is not studying nature as a parallel world.

Is that Land art? Or Environmental art? Is it Eco Art?
Nuppu is a bit of all that. Nature became a key element in contemporary art practices in the late 1960s, with movements such as Land Art in USA and Arte Povera in Italy. Their main goal was to use natural elements to produce art. Today, Nuppu inverts the directions and its goal is to ‘produce’ Nature through art! We like to call it Nature Art, as the main media employed here is Nature for which Art is its frame. Nuppu do not transform Nature, but preserves uncorrupted DNA for the future generations.

Where is Nuppu?
The first specimen of the sculpture is going to be placed in Finland. The first prototype of the seed container will be installed in Helsinki University, as the Department of Agricultural Science is ready to host it and to monitor it for one year. Professor Juha Helenius has welcome and approved the project together with the Department.
After the first Nuppu is installed in Finland, other specimen are proposed in Europe.

Can I take part to the project? / How am I involved?
Nuppu distributes alive seeds: the leafs of the sculpture open every two years and the seeds are distributed for free to any public/private individual/entity who offers to take care of them; new seeds are placed inside and the sculpture is sealed again. The opening of the sculpture during summer is the occasion for a public ceremony open to the public, with music and festivity.
Nuppu dialogues with the people in the sense that questions individual and collective responsibility and at the same time it motivates to take action to preserve a common patrimony.

Where are you going to produce and install Nuppu?
Nuppu will be casted as near as possible to the place of destination. Even if the logic of market would suggest to produce it where the labour costs less, each specimen will be produced locally. We want to participate to a positive feed toward a smarter economy. The process of production and distribution will be monitored in favour of sustainability.

Who supports Nuppu project?
In 2008 and 2009 Metsämiesten Säätiö has been the first to support Nuppu project.
In the year 2013 KONE foundation supports Nuppu Group to proceed with the research.
In 2014 the Swedish-Finnish Cultural Foundation supports Nuppun Group with a mobility grant.
In May 2014 the University of Helsinki, Department of Agricultural Science, is ready to host the first prototype of the seed container and to monitor it for one year.


Who are the creators of the project?

Egle Oddo, visual artist, Italy
idea and conceptualization, public relations, mechanical prototype, seed container technology, resources, and project coordination.

Anu Miettinen, visual artist, Finland
development, resources, seeds circulation policy research, and project coordination.

Nastia Eliseeva, visual artist, Russia
design, aesthetic research, coordination of technical elements with final form.
www.environmentalart.net/nastia_eliseeva


Maria Stella Bottai, curator, Italy