Esko Männikkö, Nimetön, sarjasta | Utan titel, ur serien | Untitled, from the series Harmony Sisters, 2007

Esko Männikkö: Time Flies

Helsingin Taidehalli 18.1.–2.3.2014

Photographer Esko Männikkö’s retrospective exhibition brings together an unprecedented number of his works ranging from the early 1980s to the present.

Männikkö has lived in the north, working as a photographic artist outside the trends and established institutions of photography. Yet he is one of the internationally most famous Finnish photographers and has often exhibited his work abroad.

Männikkö’s interest in photography grew from early hunting trips. Animal hunting metamorphosed into picture hunting, when Männikkö was printing black-and-white photographs in his school’s photography club and became enthralled by the way pictures appeared on paper. As a photographer, Männikkö is self-taught. His breakthrough came in 1995 when he was nominated Young Artist of the Year in Finland. In the prize exhibition, he presented a series of photographs of bachelors from the north of Finland; a show that made a lasting impression on many. Männikkö has subsequently had no major solo exhibitions in Finland.

The framing, hanging and rhythm of Männikkö’s exhibitions is quite unique. The photographs are independent artworks while also being part of an extended series and even a dialogue between different series. The oldest works in this exhibition are from the series When Time Stops Still. Shot in the early 1980s, the black-and-white pictures record the determination and resilience of a family living in the remote village of Särkijärvi in northern Finland. The latest works in the retrospective are from the series Blues Brothers that puts the viewer face to face with lifeless human figures photographed in Italian cemeteries. Männikkö’s pictures make no attempt to conceal the efforts of modern culture to wipe out the passage of time and its traces. Männikkö immerses himself into the places and details he photographs, respectfully highlighting the mundane in everyday life. Whether the subject is alive or inanimate, human or animal, Männikkö paints its with light, bringing out its beauty through his lens. Although Männikkö’s visual style has changed over time and his themes have become increasingly metaphorical, he has retained his interest in everyday life, outsiders and marginalised people.

Esko Männikkö (b. 1959 in Pudasjärvi, Finland) lives and works in Oulu. He has several solo and group shows to his credit, particularly abroad, and he has work in many international and Finnish collections. He is also the recipient of the prestigious international Deutsche Börse Photography Prize (2008).

The Time Flies exhibition is produced by the Finnish Art Society. A book entitled Esko Männikkö: Time Flies is published in conjunction with the exhibition. The 240-page book contains more than 200 pictures of his work. It is edited by exhibition secretary Pirkko Tuukkanen and Maija Koskinen, curator of the show. The essays are by art historian, Professor Liz Wells (UK) and Maija Koskinen. The graphic design and layout are by Patrik Söderlund. The book is published in two bilingual editions, one in Finnish and Swedish, the other in English and German.

After Kunsthalle Helsinki, the exhibition will go on an international tour. Two tour venues have been confirmed so far: Turku Art Museum (16 May–14 September 2014) and Gothenburg Museum of Art (13 February–8 May 2016).

Saturday 18 January at 2 pm: Liz Wells, Professor in Photographic Culture, will introduce the exhibition in dialogue with Esko Männikkö and Maija Koskinen.
Sunday 9 February at 3 pm: Meet the Artist with Esko Männikkö
Friday 14 February: Valentine’s Day. Kunsthalle open until 8pm. Guided tours (in Finnish) at 6pm and 7pm.

Open: Tue, Thu, Fri 11 am–6 pm, Wed 11 am–8 pm, Sat–Sun 11 am–5 pm
Tickets: 10/7 €, under-18s free
The members of the Finnish Art Society: free entrance

The book Esko Männikkö – Time Flies is being sold in the Kiosque shop at the Kunsthalle.
Price: 40 € (English/German)

Esko Männikkö - Time Flies