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A Body Called Paula


Nov 15-17. & 20-22.2017
NARS Foundation 2nd Floor Gallery

Paula is a female name. In Finnish the word means a ribbon, something to tie or to be enchanted with. It is also a synonym for a trap. Globally it is known as a name, originating from the Greek word ‘Paulus’, which means small.

The project is an installation that mixes screenprinting with performance. Part installation, part performance, A Body Called Paula is a piece that develops over the days of the installation through long-duration printing sessions. The movements and their soundtrack create an enchanting, sensual machine with the main themes of time and temporality, pleasure, and the meditative process of working. The narrative story behind the performance hunts beauty through the themes of light, passion, knowledge, reality, and depth, finally balanced out by darkness.

What is the measure of time? Ornament is a universal form of visual art in every culture. The installation at NARS is part of Sirkku Ketola’s long-term project. For the duration of ten years A Body Called Paula produces hand printed ornaments, or ribbons, around the world which will finally be presented as one massive installation. The photo-based patterns are different in every ornament as each of their motives rises from the previous performance place. The New York-based pattern will be seen in Helsinki in March 2018. To date, the project has been presented in Toronto, Canada and Turku, Finland and will travel to several locations in Europe after New York.

Visual artist Sirkku Ketola is one of the current participants in the residency program of the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York. She works and lives in Finland with regular stints to Belgium. Ketola’s mind is fed by the paradoxical contrast of silence in the north and bustle in urban spaces. For Sirkku Ketola, handicraft is a method of slowing down the digital image stream surrounding us, as well as a tool for understanding the relation between human and matter. Ketola’s work practice is slow and her projects often take years to finish. Her exhibitions have passed through international borders in a variety of galleries and museums. Renowned as a screenprinter, she is often solicited to teach and lecture in art academies. A self-described “civilized savage”, she speaks although the quiet allures her.

Read Sirkku's interview with Firstindigo&Lifestyle about the performance

Performance schedule

NOV 15 durational performance starts 2pm – LIGHT
NOV 16 durational performance starts 2pm – PASSION
NOV 17 durational performance starts 2pm – KNOWLEDGE

NOV 20 durational performance starts 2pm – REALITY
NOV 21 durational performance starts 6pm – DEPTH, evening session
NOV 22 durational performance starts 2pm – DARKNESS

The duration for each session of the performance is approximately two hours. Pick up lunch from Tacos El Bronco and join the slow movement.

The screenprints made in New York have been prepared at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop:

More information
Previous exhibitions: