watercolour on paper, 2013, 14,7 x 10.5 cm

Watercolored Angela Merkel’s signatures

Last few years on and off I’ve been lucky enough to get to spend two months each year abroad somewhere. In 2012 I did a residency in Cite Des Art in Paris, and then in 2013 in Berlin.

Anyhow. When one decides to go away and work in a new place, the temptation is always there to try to do something that relates to, or is in a dialogue with the place at hand. In Paris I followed up on a series that I had done a few years earlier, which is called, The Pretty Women of Paris, where I had watercolored text from a guidebook with the same title. The book had been published in 1883 and served as a guidebook for British tourists going to Paris, lists of all the prostitutes in Paris at the time, names addresses, descriptions etc. When in Paris in 2012, I took to the streets and visited all the addresses, documented each visit and the result is 3 books of photographs and texts plus a pinned map of Paris where all the addresses are. See info on the earlier series, Pretty Women of Paris: In addition to that I also collected ideas for works that resulted in series of paintings, such as Marine and Brigitte, (series of paintings of Marine Le Pen and Brigitte Bardot), plus a painting of a handwritten letter that Bardot wrote in support of Le Pen when she was running for the French Presidential election in 2012.

In Berlin, Germany, I wondered what to do and how to reflect the fact being there on what I did next, of course Angela Merkel popped up every now and then, being blonde and of course the most powerful figure around. I obviously thought about doing actual portraits of her, but one thing led to another and the ‘portraits’ I ended up doing were a series based on her own signature copied from the web. A work that demanded a lot of patience. It took a few days to master the signature also since it’s watercolored with a brush. The repetition in my work is always an important factor, I often say it redefines the meaning, in this case the signature of the most powerful figure in European politics.

All in all my works belong to my ongoing project focusing on the question of politics of representation, addressed through the visual negotiations of blondes in our cultural environments.


  • Helsinki Contemporary, Gallery