• Laura Ukkonen: Huone. 2021. Hiili paperille. 150 x 200 cm
  • Laura Ukkonen: A forest behind the window
  • Laura Ukkonen: Everything is too far away
  • Laura Ukkonen: A sketch for a self-portrait, video still
  • Laura Ukkonen: Hope

Laura Ukkonen


Huuto II 7.1.-30.1.2022

Laura Ukkonen

I have created self-portraits. I have both told myself and given myself permission to look at and draw myself – my face, arms, skinfolds, stomach and legs. At first, I drew close-ups of my face, but soon the figures developed into entire bodies and my eyes began to wander round the rooms, noticing plants and other everyday items. I have created the works featured in the exhibition over the past few years, while going through the early stages of burnout, trying different pain medications and antidepressants and coming off medication. At times I did not recognize the person in the mirror, but sometimes the person looked more familiar. By drawing, I have tried to figure out who I am right now. The works are charcoal and pencil drawings and woodcuts.

I have drawn self-portraits since I was a teenager, probably because it allows me to find my identity over and over again. I also enjoy working alone, so often the easiest option is to use myself as my model. Focusing on the lights and shadows on one’s body is also about curiosity towards humanity in general, which exists in all of us, not just me. The initial impetus for the exhibition arose as I copied young people’s self-portraits and other portraits for my art education thesis at Aalto University (2019). I was moved by the skillfulness and seriousness of the pencil drawings, and I again started drawing self-portraits more or less regularly.

Laura Ukkonen (b. 1977) is a Helsinki-based artist. She holds an MA degree in Fine Arts (2012) and in Art Education (2019), both from Aalto University, as well as a BA degree in Art History (2009, University of Turku). She works with drawings, woodcuts, video works and writing. In her works, Laura Ukkonen explores themes such as womanhood and loneliness. She is fascinated by the self-portraits, interiors and everyday depictions from different eras, as these themes have been accessible to women as artists throughout the centuries. Her works have been previously on display, for example, at Oksasenkatu 11, Galleria Huuto and the Kone Foundation’s café Puhuri, in Helsinki. Her texts have been published in Taidejemmoja (2019) and Saari näkyvissä! Saaren kartanon taiteilija- ja tutkijaresidenssi 10 vuotta (2018).

I wish to thank the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike) for supporting my exhibition and work.