Ulla Jokisalo – Guises of Play

Ars Nova
Ulla Jokisalo: Laterna Magica
Ulla Jokisalo: Laterna Magica

Ulla Jokisalo’s private exhibition Guises of Play is an extensive and thorough display of the artist’s work from the years 2005–2011. The exhibition includes photographs, collages made by embroidery and paper cut-outs, and assemblages using various objects.

The title of the exhibition, Guises of Play, refers to an idea of reality, where play, in all its forms, has an important part in shaping the world; also for adults. Play in itself is positive force that avoids every-day coventionality and maintains the freedom of the human mind. By playing and fantasizing one can also be in touch with the dark, even dangerous sides of life. What arouses fear, is also alluring.

Confessions? Or Sudden Ideas? The dim light of a Magic Lantern? Or a Burning Bush?On the Threshold or in the Stocks? Will the Story have a Name one day?

A central source of inspiration for the recent work of Ulla Jokisalo has been childrens’ literature from the 19th century. Particularly the dark, black-and-white illustrations, the cruelty of details, have inspired the artist and have given a foundation – directly or indirectly – to many of the works in the exhibition. The recent work of Ulla Jokisalo can also be seen as a dialogue with the traditions of illustrating and story-telling in old literature.

Ulla Jokisalo’s exhibition is installed on the first floor of the museum, in seven thematic spaces. The themes are called: Guises of Play, Empire, The Colours of Life, The Magic Lantern, Looking at the Darkness, Holding the Threads in Her Own Hands?, and Story without a Name.

A monograph entitled Guises of Play is published together with the opening of the new exhibition. It is based on Ulla Jokisalo’s works from the years 2000–2011. The book contains a text by researcher and author Anna Kortelainen (Musta Taide and Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova, 2011).

Ulla Jokisalo will present her exhibition in an artist’s talk on 19 March at 12.15 pm.

Visual artist Ulla Jokisalo (b. 1955) lives and works in Helsinki, where she started her artistic career in the beginning of the 1980s. She graduated as a photographic artist at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki in 1983. She has held several private exhibitions, such as the retrospectives Leikkaus (Cut) at the Kuopio Art Museum in 1993 and Kuvieni muisti, 1980–2000 (The Memory of my Images, 1980–2000) at the Helsinki City Art Museum in 2001. Ulla Jokisalo has received the State Award for Visual Art in 1984 and 2001, the Award of the Finnish Cultural Foundation in 2001 and the Pro Finlandia Medal of the Order of the Lion in 2010. She acted as artist professor in 2004–2009. The exhibition Guises of Play celebrates Ulla Jokisalo’s 30 years as a visual artist.

Ulla Jokisalo, Biography, 2010, pigment print, pins, 47 x 35 cm
Ulla Jokisalo, Needle Bearer, 2010, cut-out pigment print, thread and needle on fabric, 36 x 57 cm
Ulla Jokisalo, Ring Dance, 2009, cut-out pigment print, pins, 44 x 37 cm
Ulla Jokisalo, The Magicians Hat, 2010, pigment print, 125 x 119 cm
Ulla Jokisalo, Vis-á-vis, 2010, pigment print, 138 x 94 cm
Ulla Jokisalo, Laterna Magica, 2009, cut-out pigment print, embroidery, thread and needles on fabric, 42 x 32 cm