Existential Skeletons
March, 2024
Basis Projektraum
Frankfurt am Main, Germany

In his works, Kristoffer Ala-Ketola deals with semiotics, character formation, symbolism,
psychological phenomena, speculative futures and queer theories with a focus on emotions,
longing and dreams. Using moving images, photography, sculpture, installation, painting and
text, he anchors his practice in uncertain forms of existence. In his preoccupation with the
emergence of identities, the genre of portraiture merges with a mixture of new and
unknown characters. His artworks are imbued with body horror, the grotesque, camp,
queerness and absurd humor to contemplate the borderlands between the fantastic, the
human and the speculative. By merging fiction, autobiography and theory into a visual
language whose signs reflect and contradict each other, he creates a vortex of associations
on themes such as desire, loneliness, change, healing and coping.

During his time at basis e.V., Kristoffer Ala-Ketola created a multi-media work that combines
moving images, painting and sculpture. In terms of content, the works deal with the
biomorphic, dreaming and the challenge of the unknown. The individual objects relate to
each other like a web or a mind map and create connections between the objects and
methods of the subject areas. This creates associations between the seemingly different
references of the works.

Formally, they are based on exoskeletons as well as medieval armor. Exoskeletons are
external skeletons that are a support structure for an organism and form a stable outer shell
around it. This biological phenomenon, which occurs in insects and crustaceans, is also used
in modern science. At the same time, they embody the dichotomy of vulnerability and
strength. Exoskeletons embody the resilience of nature, while armour symbolizes
human-made protection.

In terms of the human psyche, this embodies the urge to protect oneself from harm, the
urge to evolve and adapt, and the deep connection between the two. Especially with regard
to the Queer culture, the exoskeletons take on another level. For the latter, they can serve as
a protective shield or shelter. The artworks invite viewers to reflect on how they too can overcome life's challenges with
their own metaphorical exoskeletons and armor.