“Turn it upside down and it looks great.”—Mimosa Pale

Mimosa Pale is a Finnish sculptor, performance artist and musician born in 1980 who grew up in Pori, Finland. As a teenager, she studied action painting in Salzburg, which kickstarted her passion for performance art. She continued to study art at the University of Central England in Birmingham, the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and graduated with a Master’s in Fine Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, with a focus on sculpture. Today, she bridges sculpture and performance art in comical, yet unexpected ways.

Inspired by carnivals, masquerade, side shows and jazz, Pale arms the silly with the spectacular; and brings a playful approach to otherwise ordinary materials. Her approach is what she calls “a social approach to art,” in that she believes art is for everyone, with a focus on bridging disciplines.

Pale moved to Berlin in 2008, where she ran her own “poor man’s haute couture” hat shop called Himo, in the district of Neukölln. It became a hub of concerts, exhibitions and performances. Over the following years, Pale became known as a leading figure in the city’s underground art movement, where she created performances that have combined millinery with recycling used materials and audience-as-performer in what she calls “street life performance.”

Using materials that move, like fringes, is at the heart of her playful artworks. She made a piece entitled Wandering Shocks, where a group of performers wearing costumes made of rainbow-hued fringes performed at the Berlin Circus Festival in 2017, while for another, she has adhered plastic fringes to a public monument for Blow, which she blew with a leaf blower as part of the Streetlevel Festival in Helsinki in 2015.

Pale performs with the musical saw, a handsaw that is played with a bow, which she incorporates into her performances. In the past years she collaborated with the “Electric Sideshow,” a variety show in Berlin. As a musician, she has also collaborated with bands like Emma Award-winning jazz band Dalindeo and Finnish dance orchestra, Vallilan Tango.

The artist has a to break tradition by showing outside of traditional art gallery, stage and theatre venues. “My work has some theatrical elements, but they are used rather in contrast to other surrounding elements and expectations,” says Pale.

In 2018, she created an artwork called Foliage, a „coat“ made of reflective materials, that was part of a larger installation with her art collective Wild Angelicas; Maria Duncker, Anne Hiekkaranta and Niina Lehtonen Braun, which included a fountain and backdrop for poetry performances in Berlin.

In 2019, Pale performed “How to Become a Diamond” at Opean 6, Einstein Kultur in Munich. While onstage with a life-sized, skeletal diamond sculpture, she performed onstage under a set of rotating colored lights.

Pale is currently living and working in an artist residency in Horb am Neckar, Germany.

written by Nadja Sayej /March 2019