Helena Mutanen

Born 1965 in Stock­holm, Sweden. Lives and works in Stock­holm, Sweden.


Conjoined Roots - (jus soli / jus sanguinis)

waxed and padded textile cloth, iron rings

Conjoined roots is a hanging sculpture made of waxed textile. When I developed it, I used two basic concepts.

“Jus soli” and “jus sanguinis” are translated as “right of the soil” and “right of blood”. They are principles for the determination of citizenship. The unconditional “jus soli” is the principle upon which nationality is automatically granted through birthplace. Based on “jus sanguinis”, citizenship is inherited through parents, not through birthplace.

These principles are used in different parts of the world. The two branches (the legs) symbolizes the concepts. The legs are a body part that is used for movement, and the root is anchored. “Conjoined” implies to come together as one. Roots tell us about belonging. The shape of the two ends pointing down, together with the great body, create a supernatural image. The form is biologically impossible for such a large root.

Artist Statement

My starting point is usually personal stories, self-perceived events in the past or in the present. I have worked a lot with origin, belonging and identity in recent years, because this is my own story. I’m interested in the stories. The ideas decide what medium will be used. I use many different materials and combinations in sculptures, installations and objects.

For me, the aim is to reduce and compress, while rendering the complexity of the artwork’s expression and meaning.