Throughout Ulla Jokisalo’s remarkable career she has steadily focused on entering into her own personal dialogue that questions cultural juxtapositions based on gender, femininity, and notions of the uncanny and outlandish to challenge societal norms and associations. Her works are a combination of paper cutouts, masks, embroidery, pins, needles, and thread. Jokisalo masterfully uses these materials as a means to bind together parts of reality, whether they be from her memories or her dreams, she creates her own surreal universe.
Her images are poetic compositions that highlight her ability to interlace various ready-made and other found objects together to form an unconscious bridge between dreams a fantasy. Sometimes playful, other times scary, her works circle around fate, memory, and the notion of time. In her own surrealistic exploration Jokisalo peels away at the different layers of our subconscious and the innumerable possibilities of our imaginations. According to the artist, there is no reality that is free from the make-believe and fantasy, as the real palpable world perceives itself from these.
In her series, Collection of the Headless Women, Jokisalo refers back to the historical tradition of using animals and metamorphosis as symbols of identity. Inspired by the bohemian Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke, Jokisalo uses her own poetic word play in the titles of her works as a means to unveil other types of associations that challenge our stereotypes and assumptions. Her life is mirrored through her work and collected all together; it’s a living collage that is filled with hope, wonder, and mystery.
Ulla Jokisalo was born in 1955 in Kannus, Finland. She lives and works in Helsinki. Her work was presented in various solo and group exhibitions, including shows at Helsinki Art Museum (Helsinki, 2018), Fotografisk Center (Copenhagen, 2018), Gallery Taik Persons (Berlin, 2015), or the Finnish Museum of Photography (Helsinki, 2011).