Henna Jula

Born 1990  |  Lives and works in Helsinki


Water in its multiple forms is a ubiquitous, everyday substance, and yet at the same time its diverse properties vary. Water’s movements, resistance and density, along with its tendency to distort things, make it an interesting and sometimes even unpredictable element. The artist Henna Jula is particularly interested in how objects move and float in water. An undefinable underwater space is present in her works; the colours, shapes and composition reminiscent of some microscopic or subaquatic vista.


In Jula’s paintings organic forms, movements and structures that observe the laws of nature form harmonious arrangements. The mutual interaction between oil paint and turpentine gives rise to a partially ungovernable chain of events, the end result being visible on the canvas as a natural, living impression. The layers of paint emerge at the end of a speedy working method, and nor can they any longer be modified afterwards.


This honest way of making paintings calling for great self-assurance has been influenced by East-Asian ink-wash painting. The rapid technique requires a great deal of practice and the brushstrokes have to be made correctly the first time, since mistakes once made cannot be corrected later. The essence, atmosphere or spirit of the object being depicted are fundamental, with precise copying taking second place. Jula has studied and later also worked on a residency in Taiwan, where she became familiar with ink-wash painting, subsequently applying this method to her own technique.


In her works the layers of paint create a sense of space, with the various sharp areas fusing together to form a spellbinding construct in which the blurred parts often remain in the background and the sharp areas thrust themselves to the fore, thus turning the painting into its own multidimensional whole. Nature, water and organicness are powerful sources of inspiration for the imagination in these mysterious works, which take our thoughts to scenes from the bottom of the ocean or to landscapes inside a drop of water.