Lionesses – Elisa Hernetkoski’s postal stamp art

The exhibition features the Vulva series of four works by Oulu graphic artist Elisa Hernetkoski and the Alkulähde triptych of three works. The mosaic-like works are made from old stamps.

The works in the Vulva series mainly use Finnish universal stamps, with the long-repeated theme since 1856 being the coat-of-arms lion and its saber. In addition to the lion stamps, the series also includes commemorative stamps of historical female rulers from England, Denmark and the Netherlands. In the Alkulähde triptych, nature and Christmas-themed stamps are the main themes.

Hernetkoski is interested in the contradiction between the old, pedantic male-dominated stamp hobby and the free recycled art. The artist wants to create well-kept, fresh and beautiful graphic ensembles.

“I first have an idea on paper of the shapes, tones and stamp designs I want to use. Then I start placing the stamps on graph paper to the millimetre in the shapes I have chosen. At this stage, the work is creative, as I think and experiment about what works and what doesn’t, which colours and stamp patterns fit next to each other. Once I’m happy with the design, I move and glue the marks onto the actual base. It takes between 2,000 and 4,000 pieces of markers for a single job.”

Hernetkoski receives donations of stamps from old collectors. The donor often sends a letter with the parcel in which he or she expresses his or her pleasure at the preservation and reuse of the stamps. The messages also inspire Hernetkoski to make art.