“In art the darkest visions are the most beautiful” Friedrich Nietzsche

I am pleased to present and take care of the personal exhibition of the Finnish multidisciplinary artist Ulla Karttunen at the Venanzio Crocetti Foundation Museum with the Taiteen Edistamiskeskus Center for the promotion of Finnish Art.

Karttunen long known internationally as one of the Finnish artists of the twentieth century dedicates his life to art and continuous research. A leading figure of avant-garde transdisciplinary artists in Finland, he works on digital images, installations and socially critical or conceptual projects. He won a five-year scholarship in the field of multidisciplinary art, nominated as a finalist in various international art competitions, and his installation “Donna Criminale”, a work created with paper, was the winner of international art prizes on contemporary taboo themes .

The exhibition entitled “Donna Fatale: metamorphoses of modern” includes thirty works including digital collages and installations where she tells us with visionary philosophical observation “the metamorphosis of the modern”, tells us about the power of women, female strength and courage. The works that the artist has created in this solo show are a series of unpublished works strongly influenced by the broad social landscapes.

All large-format works express contrasts with a strong complex sense. In some works it tells us of women who treat the conflict for economic resources; some others are seen as modern goddesses and heroines, or as effigies of ladies who investigate gloomily in the interstices of emotions such as: anger, fear and shame; or other women who are portrayed as unknown mystics and saints in a satirical, sensual and irrational way.

The colors he uses in some works are incisive and strong, such as dark red, crimson pink, scarlet red, or soft colors that blend and overlap creating soft and original shades; and others finally with compact colors seem to be on the verge of dissolving like ghosts of the future. They are represented as a dramatic inner pathos and scenes of strength, which alternate with images that in simple traits are charged with meaningful and eloquent allegorical values ​​in an ironic way.

Karttunen works a lot on the concept of time, frames an almost pictorial approach from the works, moving him away from the time reference and atmospheric values, to take us to a solid but timeless space, of today, yesterday or tomorrow. The fund is not as important as the imminent female figure and the emotional description that brings us into the work

Once women were excluded from the world of knowledge, they could not command, they had no rights, even speaking in an existential order since female power is not connected to rules, violence, shouting aloud and has never been heard much … Going back through history it is possible to identify only a few emblematic cases whose analysis highlights the path of progressive affirmation in the professional field of women, once driven to art and creativity, but only from neoclassicism onwards comes a value of recognition, even today, in the modern era the issue of women is globally “fatal” as per the title of the exhibition. The conquest in modern times will rediscover the intellectual dignity and the conscience of practicing a profession that cannot be reduced to a mere artisan practice, and becomes gradually more solid until it reaches today that value of global recognition.

Women are the first to create the sharing and communion necessary to save the planet in the world – women’s education, women’s emancipation and gender equality are the means to defeat indifference. The works on display are tangible expressions of a precise declination of modern society, and change and the transformation of one’s own experience find breath.

Through his works, Karttunen represents women to reassemble those tears on the female figure and to communicate strong and very current messages with transparency. The artist uses his works as in short stories. The creation of portraits in this exhibition, created by collages, are linked to the practice of the ut pictura poesis as Quinto Orazio Flacco said, translated literally means “As in painting so in poetry”. The poetry in Karttunen’s works is an example of this and describes the figure of women through their deepest soul.

Affectivity, sensitivity and intuition are present in Karttunen’s life and in his works as well. As in a succession of struggles and internal tragedies, she is more interested in representing what is “noir” than the other side of the coin. But, if we believe in the Nietzschean revaluation of all values ​​”in art the darkest visions are the most beautiful” we should rethink which values ​​and forces are really the most profound affirmation of life. In a continuous cycle, “life-death-life” creates an explosion of uncontrolled emotions. The artist seems to want to surprise us by lighting a light to illuminate hope, in an attempt to regain possession of his “humanity” in an attempt to want to live with serenity and peace. The artist’s soul seems unable to remain silent and with a continuous creative search communicates to the world in a cry of hope.


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By Sveva Manfredi Zavaglia

She is an independent curator, art advisor and international marketing management consultant. For more than 20 years, he has been a cultural designer of events related to contemporary art with particular attention to unusual spaces and interactions with other arts.

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