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Ulla Karttunen Chosen as Finalist in Malamegi Art Competition

Ephemeral sculpture Donna Criminale by the Finnish artist Ulla Karttunen was chosen as finalist in Malamegi Art Competition

Ulla Karttunen: Donna Criminale, installation (toilet paper), 2016

Donna Criminale, the ephemeral sculpture by the artist Ulla Karttunen, was selected as one of the 12 finalists in The Malamegi LAB.8 Art Competition.

The finalists’ works will be shown in Rome at Loft Gallery from 14th September to 5th October 2017; the exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue.




Society of voluntary blindness

The Thief of the Eye, 2017, a digital collage by the artist Ulla KarttunenUlla Karttunen: The Thief of the Eye, 2017, digital collage, photograph on acrylic, 118,9 x 84,7 cm

St Francis of Assisi could be called a patron saint of the poor; he preached about serving others and demanded social justice. ”Grant me the treasure of sublime poverty”, he wrote. Francis of Assisi could be seen as a severe challenger of market-based ethics, one of the first critics of capitalism.

If Francis of Assisi preached against the will to win, the ethics or anti-ethics of our times is based on raw profit-making. Our modern-day world is a visual society, where economics goes through images, imagos, brands, illusions, and other reflections. In order to gain more, we mislead the eye and do not see any more what is important, where is the basic ethics of being a human. The social play of luxury, popularity and appearances has stolen our ability to see. – This is the topic of the work The Thief of the Eye.

The developed market society has forgot the ethical message of Francis of Assisi. – As a starting point for this digital collage, a collage as meditation, has been used Zurbaran’s wonderful portrait of Francis of Assisi.

the artworks by Ulla Karttunen at Galleria Wikiarte, Bologna 2017Exhibition Art Experience, Galleria Wikiarte, Bologna

Goddess of light, from darkness

Uma, The Lady of the Mountains, 2017, by artist Ulla Karttunen Ulla Karttunen: Uma, The Lady of the Mountains, 2017, digital collage, photograph on acrylic, 118,9 x 84,7 cm

Uma, also known as Parvati, is an ancient Indian mountain-goddess. The name means light and she is the goddess of spiritual knowledge, love and devotion. Parvati is typically wearing a red dress. According to Carl Jung, Parvati belongs to the category of black goddesses, black madonnas.

The contemporary interpretation of the goddess Uma was shown in the exhibition Art Experience at Galleria Wikiarte, Bologna.

Ulla Karttunen's works (at left) at Galleria Wikiarte, Bologna

Bologna opening images

Opening of the group exhibition Art Experience at Galleria Wikiarte, Bologna 2017Opening of the group exhibition Art Experience at Galleria Wikiarte, Bologna 2017Opening of the group exhibition Art Experience at Galleria Wikiarte, Bologna 2017Opening of the group exhibition Art Experience at Galleria Wikiarte, Bologna 2017“The Thief of the Eye”, and “Uma, Lady of the Mountains”, digital collages by Ulla KarttunenArt critic and historian Dr. Francesca Bogliolo presented the show in the opening. The exhibition Art Experience at the Gallery of Contemporary Art Wikiarte, Via San Felice 18, Bologna, April 22nd to May 4th, 2017.


Art Experience opens in Bologna

Exhibition Art Experience, Galleria Wikiarte, Bologna 2017

Collective exhibition Art Experience opens at Galleria Wikiarte in the center of Bologna, Italy, Saturday April 22. Curator of the exhibition: Deborah Petroni. The event will be presented on the opening night by the art critic and historian Dr. Francesca Bogliolo. The exhibition will also be accompanied by a catalog.

The show presents two new digital collages by Ulla Karttunen, “The Thief of the Eye”, and “Uma, Lady of the Mountains”.

Let’s take a quote from one of my favorite aesthetic thinkers, John Dewey, the pragmatist philosopher who writes in his book Art as Experience: “An experience is a product, one might almost say bi-product, of continuous and cumulative interaction of an organic self with the world. There is no other foundation upon which esthetic theory and criticism can build.”

Exhibitions 2016 & Donna Criminale Continued Her World Tour

Looking back in the year 2016 and its exhibitionsThe artist Ulla Karttunen’s works were seen in the year 2016 in interesting places: at a church in Portugal’s oldest town Ponte de Lima, at a top gallery in Florence, at an art fair in King’s Road in London, at an abandoned City Theatre of Lappeenranta, at a digital art center in Los Angeles, at an orthodox cultural center in seaside Helsinki, and at the National Museum of Algiers. Other art places: staying one month in an artists’ residence in Matera and lecturing at the world congress of aesthetics in Seoul.

Donna Criminale (2016) by artist Ulla Karttunen, the exhibition Taboo at galleria Poggiali e Forconi, FirenzeDonna Criminale (2016) by artist Ulla Karttunen, the exhibition Taboo at galleria Poggiali e Forconi, FirenzeDonna Criminale by artist Ulla Karttunen, the exhibition Taboo at galleria Poggiali e Forconi, FirenzeInstallation Donna Criminale started her this year’s tour from Florence. A toast for winning the best project prize. Exhibition Taboo at galleria Poggiali e Forconi.Donna Criminale (2016) by artist Ulla Karttunen, the exhibition ART-MAP, Capela das Pereiras, Ponte de Lima, Portugal The Criminal stayed summertime in a beautiful church in Portugal. Exhibition ART-MAP, Ponte de Lima. Donna Criminale (2016) by artist Ulla Karttunen, the exhibition Al-tiba9, The National Museum Bardo, Algiers, AlgeriaIn autumn it was time for the Criminal to travel overseas to Algeria. Exhibition Al-tiba9 (Antithesis) at Bardo National Museum. Manifesto of Silence, Hiljaisuuden manifesti, Kulttuurikeskus Sofia 2016Series Red, by artist Ulla Karttunen. Exhibition Manifesto of Silence 2016,Ulla Karttunen: The Madonna of Ruby Tears / Rubiinikyynelten madonna (a detail, yksityiskohta) 2016, acrylic mounted digital print on aluminium 146×71,7 cm Silence was manifested at Cultural Center Sofia, Helsinki. Series Red, and a detail of Ulla Karttunen’s work The Madonna of Ruby Tears. Exhibition Manifesto of Silence.Parallax Art Fair, February 2016 at Chelsea Town Hall, King's Road, London. Works also from artist Ulla Karttunen.Artist Ulla Karttunen’s works at Parallax Art Fair, London 2016Red was the colour at Parallax Art Fair 2016, London, at Ulla Karttunen’s stand.5000m2 exhibition näyttelytapahtuma Lappeenranta 2016The Biennial of the Lynched, by artist Ulla KarttunenThe Biennial of the Lynched Celebrates the Holy Market Economy, installation by artist Ulla Karttunen, exhibition 5000m2, Lappeenranta Theatre 2016Hundreds of bloody gloves in the installation The Biennial of the Lynched Celebrates the Holy Market Economy, exhibition 5000m2, Lappeenranta.Exorbitant! And does not fit in the frames (a digital collage by Ulla Karttunen)The start of the exhibition year was at Los Angeles, Lacda. Detail of a work: Exorbitant! And does not in the frames.


Vuoden 2016 taidepaikkoja

Taide ja näyttelyt veivät vuonna 2016 mitä mielenkiintoisimpiin ja moninaisimpiin paikkoihin: Portugalin vanhimpaan kaupunkiin Ponte de Limaan, homehtuvaan ja purettavaan lappeenrantalaiseen teatteritaloon, huippugalleriaan Firenzeen, taidemessuille Lontoon keskustan King’s Roadille, ortodoksiseen kulttuurikeskukseen meren rannalle Helsinkiin, taiteilijaresidenssiin Materan ikiaikaiseen eteläitalialaiseen kivikaupunkiin, Soulin tämän päivän urbaaniin kivierämaahan ja Algerian Kansallismuseoon Bardoon kukkulalle kaupungin keskelle.

View from artists' residence in Matera, photograph by Ulla KarttunenTaiteilijaresidenssissä Materassa avautuivat unenomaiset, sumuun verhoutuvat maisemat.Ponte de Lima, in the time of ART-MAP exhibition Ponte de Limassa joki hallitsi idyllistä pikkukaupunkia.Duomo, Firenze, night (photograph by Ulla Karttunen)Firenzen yökään ei näyttänyt hullummalta.Ulla Karttunen: Lynkattujen biennaali juhlii pyhää markkinataloutta, The Biennial of the Lynched Celebrates the Holy Market Economy, 2016Lynkattujen biennaalisssa Lappeenrannassa ei näyttänyt siistiltä. Mutta eihän lynkattujen kohtalokaan ole kaunis.Megalomaniac architecture and urban cacophony in Seoul (visited by Ulla Karttunen)Soulia hallitsi urbaani kakofonia ja  megalomaaninen arkkitehtuuri.

International award for Donna Criminale by Ulla Karttunen

Ulla Karttunen: Donna Criminale, Taboo, Galleria Poggiali & Forconi

Donna Criminale was the winner of the Best Project award, in the international contemporary art prize Taboo. Ulla Karttunen’s project Donna Criminale includes a hanged toilet paper goddess, series of digital collages and a book.

The finalists’ exhibition was shown at Galleria Poggiali & Forconi in Florence, Italy. The 12 other finalists were from eg. Italy, USA, Great Britain, Ireland, Switzerland, South Africa and Singapore. The winner of the Best Single Work was Steve Salo from Australia.

Taboo called for artworks that spark thoughtful investigation on taboos. The show was curated and the finalists were chosen by the directors of Galleria Poggiali & Forconi; the winners were voted by finalists themselves. The prize, organised by Celeste Network, was participated by almost 900 artists from all over the globe.

Ulla Karttunen: Donna Criminale, Taboo, Galleria Poggiali & ForconiTaboo-exhibition Florence, in the left Ulla Karttunen's artwork Donna CriminaleTaboo, Galleria Poggiali & ForconiTaboo exhibition in Florence, at the galleria Poggiali & Forconi. In the left Antonella Cinelli’s painting, in the right Nicolas Vionnet’s installation, in the end Ulla Karttunen’s installation.

The backround to the Donna Criminale project, by Ulla Karttunen

Donna Criminale, by Ulla Karttunen, in Gallery Poggiali & Forconi, Florence 2016

The installation at the exhibition Taboo in Florence, where Donna Criminale was awarded the Best Project Prize

A hanged goddess constructed of toilet paper, a material regarded as the most banal and worthless.

A patron saint of those who are thought to be low or marginal, the wrong kind of people, ‘the others’.

The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman has noted that in contemporary consumer society, we have begun to see the poor, those who cannot participate enough in consuming, as criminals.

Donna Criminale is a project documenting social questions around a banned artwork and dealing with new forms of censorship and social inequality in contemporary market-based society. – The work is an installation with variable dimensions, a hybrid conceptual-political project consisting of a toilet paper sculpture, photographic prints based on a digital collage, and a book.

The project interprets the contemporary market economy as a mystery religion, worshipped every day and everywhere on the globe, and striving to secure its position as the first global religion. It is successful, because instead of suffering and ethics, it speaks of winning and never-ending enjoyment. It has, at least in advertisements and hopes, made the luxurious surrealism come true. Women have to serve as the sacrificial animal and fetish of this flourishing social structure. After decenniums of development in gender equality, market society has attracted women to focus on seduction: to consume and to advertise it, but also to embody it.

As Bauman states, the hedonistic consumerism has a counter-effect, growing inequality. The ”low” workers in white gowns, from nurses to housemaids and cleaning ladies, have often been treated degradingly, as cheaper or more inhuman than toilet paper.

Contemporary consumerist society has also resulted in a new kind of censorship, founded on market-based values and neoliberal ideology. The project Donna Criminale is based on a real and personal case of an artist as a despised criminal who touched a taboo. In this true story behind the work, an artwork led to a trial and the artist was found to be a guilty criminal, who was prohibited to criticize a mass market phenomenon, although the production and consumption of the same market were bypassed as legal. If in advanced capitalism those in lower social positions are treated as criminals, the same can be true for an artist who comments on social phenomena. The book studies the blind spots in society around this art trial case, and gathers together different visual parts and artworks in the project.

The religious status of market capitalism, its position as a taboo outside criticism, was clearly seen in this art trial case in Finland. It was required that the holy trinity of advertisements, celebrities and porn can only be referred to if the brands and stars are masked and remain unknown. It was expected that when speaking about the market, we need blindfolds – a demand that makes a truthful view and critique impossible.

The banners of this project explore how to recognize a criminal woman – a famous Italian positivist criminologist, Cesare Lombroso, often cited as the father of criminology, wrote a book on the same theme over a hundred years ago. Lombroso tried to distinguish criminals on the basis of their appearance, and saw criminals as being born as such rather than made. If Lombroso understood that a born criminal has large ears, his Finnish successors saw that an artist dressed in white (the color of the standard toilet paper), must surely be a criminal.

This thought, presented by Lombroso, of certain inferior groups of humans, can be found at the root of the values of the Third Reich. It is not so long ago when those interpreted as being lower were gathered to be retrained, i.e. eliminated. A similar belief that certain people are ”objectively” higher, better, more worth of profit, is also alive in contemporary democratic society with its special kind of censorship.

Donna Criminale, installation by Ulla Karttunen, Exhibition Taboo, Gallery Poggiali & Forconi, Florence

A patron saint of the poor ones, or a cheap criminal, under the archs

The book from project Donna Criminale by Ulla Karttunen

The book Donna Criminale

One part of the project Donna Criminale is a book. It includes essays by Mojca Puncer, Anita Seppä, Yrjö Sepänmaa and Ulla Karttunen. The book presents artwork series connected to the project (Blindfold, Blinded, Blind Spot Society, Sotining to Death) and collects Donna Criminale’s previous exhibition contexts (eg. Gallery Alkatraz, Ljubljana, Halle 14, Leipzig, ACC Galerie, Weimar, Gallery Pleiku, Berlin).


Matera, photograph by Ulla Karttunen

Matera, Southern Italy, artists’ residence, landscapes are magic.

Matera by UllaMatera in a dim morning, photo by Ulla KarttunenA misty morning in Matera, a view from artists’ residence’s window.