A BODY CALLED PAULA (2017-2027)
A Body Called Paula, is an installation based on repetition and a meditative performance in which Ketola, taking the role of Paula, works on a large ornament on fragile paper. Paula is an allegory of a human as part of the universe and as a builder of technology. With the help of serigraphy, her hands and the space form a human printer, a sensual machine. Paula is enchanted with the ribbons, trapped in the activity and fettered by the body and matter. In Finnish the word paula is a synonym to a ribbon and a trap. The performance parts Light, Passion, Knowledge, Reality and Darkness symbolises the elements of full life. Tension is always present in the seemingly calm performance as the characteristics of the matter are in danger of being revealed when the fragile paper gets stuck. The ethereal soundscape of the performance has been created by Ketola.
A Body Called Paula, begun in 2017, is a ten-year long process. Every year three to four ornament ribbons are created in different parts of the world. The performance is physically demanding and the endurance of the artist’s hands determine the rhythm. The long timeline allows to override the control and lets the work itself find its essential form and dialogue. The task of the artist is only to maintain the movement.
Paula is a female name. In Finnish, the word means a ribbon, something to tie or to be enchanted. It is also a synonym for a trap. Globally it is known as a name, originally a Greek word ‘Paulus’, which means small.
The project is a performative 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 performance sessions. With the ethereal soundtrack the movements of the body become a sensual machine. The main themes addressed are time/ temporality, pleasure and the meditative process of working. The narrative story hunts beauty through light to passion, knowledge, reality, and depth to the final balance with darkness.
What is the measure of time? An ornament is a universal form of visual art in every culture. Every individual performance exhibition is part of the long-term project. During ten years, 2017-2027, Sirkku Ketola will produce hand-printed ribbons around the world which will finally be presented as one massive installation. The photo-based patterns changes in every ornament with the motive that rises from the previous performance place. Who knows what will happen?
Sirkku Ketola: A Body Called Paula, 2017-2027. Site-specific durational performance and installation. Photos: Katri Ketola
2017: Toronto/Canada, Helsinki/Finland, Turku/Finland, NYC/USA
2018: Helsinki/Finland, Liége/Belgium, Grand-Leez/Belgium, Jodoigne/Belgium
2019: Kobe/Japan, Riga/Latvia, Utö/Finland
2020: Kasterlee/Belgium, Muhu Island/Estonia, Naantali/Finland
2021: Turku/Finland, Tampere/Finland, Instagram/Online
2021: Suomenlinna Island/Finland, Wiurila/Finland, Hancock/USA
NEXT: April 2023: Quebec City/Quebec/Canada... to be continued until 2027. Stay tuned! More in INSTAGRAM: #abodycalledpaula