Ulla Karttunen is an internationally acclaimed contemporary artist, who has focused on digital images, installations and socially critical projects. Her art has been seen recently in eg. Miami, Rome, Paris, London, Los Angeles, New York, Florence, and Berlin.
Karttunen is a transdisciplinary avantgarde artist, who has combined visual and philosophical experiments, pushed boundaries of art by showing it also in everyday environments, or used banal, antiheroic materials in art like toilet paper, media junk, ketchup or nail polish. Her action aims to question status quo and power relations in art and reality, and she has participated in social debates concerning violence against women and pornification of society.
Ulla Karttunen’s digital collages have been described as extremely skillful and impressive, called in critiques as ”horrifyingly beautiful”. On the surface, these digital paintings seem to be symbolistic, surreal and poetic, enfleshing mysterious atmosphere, but they can also be interpreted as contemporary versions of political, socially critical art, treating themes around gender, equality, censorship, or blind spots of society. Karttunen has also lectured from these subjects in various international conferences, recentely in eg. Athens, Seoul, Prague, Yokohama, Vienna, and Beijing, and published approximately 200 essays on philosophical questions in art and society.
Her visual art is documented in three artist monographs. The name of one of these books, ”Ulla Karttunen, A Modern Mystic” (Publications of the Joensuu Art Museum 2011), tells of her artistic inclinations: she is not only an avantgardist or a social critic but could also be seen as a mystic or visual thinker of the digital age.
For her pioneering work in multidisciplinary art, Karttunen was awarded a 5-year artist’s grant from the beginning of 2015. She was the winner in the international contest Celeste Prize Taboo in 2016. In 2017, she was nominated finalist in 3 international art prizes.