Salla Valle

Picture of artists materials.

The Heart of the Suburb, 2023, Installation

The artwork is exhibited in the Kuva/Tila gallery on the 1st floor of the Mylly building.


When I was an adolescent, I was very interested in make-up, which I used to buy secretly at the nearby Munkkivuori shopping centre. One of my first purchases was a beige stick that combined foundation with powder, smelling of dust.

For me, the shopping centre represented a transition from childhood to adulthood: it was a gateway to the world, a kind of simulation of the city centre, where you could practice city life and being in a public space.

Today, the capital and commercial appeal has long since fled the 60’s suburban shopping centres, and in the media they are described as deserted and miserable. However, I have witnessed many kinds of life in them: skateboarding, praying, eating ice cream, flea markets, reading Knausgård, singing karaoke, boozing, and plants poking through the asphalt.

When a place in the city decays, a fracture is formed where the weak can move about for a while. I’ve been interested in finding out what old shopping centres are used for before they disappear. Most of Helsinki’s old shopping centres will be completely or partially demolished in the near future.

In my work, I want to open a space to reflect on how values have changed in our society and how this is reflected in the cityscape and the destinies of the buildings. Who has the authority to define the value of a place?

About the artist

Artist Salla Valle was born in 1990 in Helsinki.