About the gallery
Persons Projects (formerly TaiK Persons) is a contemporary art gallery located in Berlin Kreuzberg.
Founded in 1995 in Helsinki, Finland and relocated to Berlin in 2005, the gallery is specialised in modern Nordic art with a focus on conceptual photography. It originated as a site specific virtual experimental gallery that eventually evolved into the primary platform for the Helsinki School – a selected group of artists who have been associated with the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, Finland.
Tiina Itkonen (FI)
Eeva Karhu (FI)
Santeri Tuori (FI)
Sandra Kantanen (FI)
Ulla Jokisalo (FI)
Jakub Julian Ziółkowski
Tiina Itkonen’s quest in 1995 to photograph the northern most inhabited place on Earth ended up landing her in the small Inuit village of Siorapaluk, Greenland. This remote, polar, largely forgotten cluster of small wooden houses, unbeknownst to her at the time, would grow into her lifelong work. What began as an adventure for a twenty-seven-year-old woman travelling alone, grew to become a photographic historiography of the direct effects of global warming. Itkonen’s travels have brought her back periodically to the same place for the past three decades. Her photographs record not only the environmental changes to that region of the world, but also how those changes impact the human factor sociologically and emotionally. Her work systematically documents how climate change has altered a traditional way of living, from a hunting society into a new uncertain reality.
Self-portrait of Tiina Itkonen. Image courtesy of the artist.
Tiina Itkonen, 'Qeqertarsuaq, Quaanaaq', (2019). Archival pigment print. 60 x 85 cm. Image courtesy of Persons Projects and the artist.
Tiina Itkonen,'Isortoq', (2017). Archival pigment print. 60 x 85 cm. Image courtesy of Persons Projects and the artist.
Jakub Julian Ziółkowski
In Jakub Julian Ziółkowski’s surrealist world one can detect the survival of a faith in the power of the mysterious affinities which link together different substances and creatures, human and the supernatural – these are the tensions that drive his paintings. Taking a multicultural approach, composed of Native American, Buddhist, and Aboriginal origins, Ziółkowski merges these together to create a kaleidoscope of powerful ideas and symbols. From these many cultures, he often uses religious talismans (which are painted or glued on) that become portals to his ever changing and growing mind. His dynamic works toe the line between classic figuration and abstraction (much like the colors, shapes, and spiritual inquiry of a Hilma af Klint painting). Ziółkowski uses a mixed media approach (of gouache, oil paint, and the three-dimensional incorporations) to abstract what we are used to see, creating a fantastical, in-depth world, which dares us to question spirituality and secular life.
Jakub Julian Ziółkowski, 'A Spirit Guide', (2021). Mixed media, 90 x 82,5 x 12 cm. Image courtesy of Persons Projects and the artist.
Jakub Julian Ziółkowski, 'Untitled', (2021). Ceramics, oil and paint. 32 x 13,5 x 11 cm. Image courtesy of Persons Projects and the artist.
Portrait Jakub Julian Ziółkowski. Image courtesy of Persons Projects and the artist.
Santeri Tuori has been engaging with the properties of nature and its power of change over the past two decades. Forests, skies, water lilies, and wind are only some of the basic elements you might find in any Nordic landscape, and all become items of Tuori's interest and observation. His subjects have their roots in traditional landscape painting and drawing as seen in the watercolors of William Turner or the biblical paintings of El Greco.
By capturing the same motives from the same spot at different times of the year, Tuori conceptualizes the passage of time by layering one photo negative upon another, creating his own imaginary landscape. In his videos and photographs, the interlude of one moment to the next cannot be counted in years or split seconds, but more so as an acculturation, or a time scape. Tuori's photographs abstract from the real, capturing nature‘s infinite power of change from one frame to another. His images blur the lines between what we know as a photograph and what we feel to be a painting: our gaze is directed towards the autonomous theme, unframed from its usual context of the "total landscape”.
Santeri Tuori, 'Water Lilies #20', (2022). Pigment print. 160,5 x 210 cm. Image courtesy of Persons Projects and the artist.
Santeri Tuori, 'Water Lilies #4', (2018). Diptych, pigment print. 160,5 x 210 cm. Image courtesy of Persons Projects and the artist.
Light plays a central role in Eeva Karhu's works. She is an artist who uses the photographic process of layering one image upon another as her method for collecting the passage of time. Much in the same way as Impressionist painters made repeated studies of the same subject, she takes a photo every day at the same point of her path home. She complies her photographs from one month or one season, using layering or collaging techniques to create a unique image.
The work reveals a startlingly wide range of changes in nature. Recording both the time of her own movements and the longer cycles of nature, her work intertwines into a personal study of perception and its fundamental links with space and time. Karhu continues this process throughout the year, creating her own visual calendar of time periods.
Karhu states: "I study this cyclic movement. I take part in it, by walking the same circle route during one year. I record the time that I will soon pass through while I experience the timelessness of its passing."
Eeva Karhu, 'Path (moments) Spring 6', (2020). Pigment print. 47 x 75 cm. Image courtesy of Persons Projects and the artist.
Eeva Karhu, 'Path (moments) Summer 1', (2019). Pigment print. 47 x 75 cm. Image courtesy of Persons Projects and the artist.
The works of Sandra Kantanen can best be defined by the harmonic unity when photography merges with painting. As the artist has been trained in both fields, she has always had a strong penchant for using light in a painterly way in her photographs. This practice can be seen in her more recent body of work, which is reminiscent of Dutch still lifes from the 17th century. These works exemplify how Kantanen can perfectly balance color within her motives through blurring and brush-stroking the color pixels to create her own imagined environment. By using the photographic process of multiple exposures and inserting digital brush strokes, Kantanen blurs the line between what we see in the image and how it makes us feel in the same tradition as the Impressionists. The Distortion series, on the other hand, clearly indicates its digital nature: The flower arrangements that have been made with large-scale scanners work to engage the eye with their sharp hyperrealistic contours. The amount of detail Kantanen layers into her photographs leaves the viewer with a sense of tangibility that resonates with her poetic interpretations.
Sandra Kantanen, 'Untitled (Distortion 2)', 2017. Pigment print 48 x 35 cm. Courtesy the artist, Persons Projects
Sandra Kantanen, 'Untitled (Distortion 9)', 2017. Pigment print. 112 x 80 cm. Courtesy the artist, Persons Projects
Sandra Kantanen, 'Untitled (Distortion 4)', 2017. Pigment print, 48 x 35 cm. Courtesy the artist, Persons Projects
Sandra Kantanen, 'Untitled (Distortion 3)', 2017. Pigment print, 48 x 35 cm. Courtesy the artist, Persons Projects.
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.
Ulla Jokisalo, 'Warrior', 2015. From the series Collection of Headless Women. Cutout pigment print and pins. 60 x 41 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Persons Projects.
Ulla Jokisalo, 'Highflyer', 2016. From the series The Collection of Headless Women. Cutout pigment print and pins. 60 x 43 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Persons Projects.
Ulla Jokisalo, 'Light Baggage', 2018. Cut-out archival pigment print. 59 x 46 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Persons Projects
Ulla Jokisalo, 'Nature Calls', 2018. Cut-out archival pigment print. 59 x 46 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Persons Projects