Finnish artist Raija Jokinen creates sculptural bodies out of flax which attempt to reveal the complicated relationship between the mind and body. Webs of flowers, veins, and roots cover her textile torsos, shape-shifting between plant and human forms. Jokinen invites the audience to get lost in these visual similarities, as she makes no distinction between whether the pieces are actually nerves or sprouting tree branches.

Flax appears to combine contradictory properties: it can be fragile and light but also rugged and solid. The most important theme in her work is the everyday: feelings, situations and thoughts. Her current pieces consist of three-dimensional human silhouettes made of flax, which are further elaborated with stitching, embroidery and pigment. The figures show the various phases of the human condition and look vulnerable and sensitive.

“It is fascinating how body-related details, such as skin, blood vessels, and nerve tracks resemble the forms of roots or branches, as well as many other organic things,” Jokinen told. “I am excited in their apparent similarity, infinite variation, and how these visual allegories can be found almost everywhere. These forms are optimal for the life-support functions, and maybe also for our mind.”

Jokinen compares her sculptural practice to painting, using handmade flax rather than paint. An upcoming solo exhibition of her fibrous sculptures opens March 14 at Galleria Uusi Kipinä and runs through April 8.

You can see more of her body-based works on her website.

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