Finnish photographer Esko Männikkö came to international prominence in the mid 90s with his series of photographs showing bachelors in the north of his native Finland. These photographs and later series, such as Mexas, which depicted the Mexican inhabitants and surroundings of Batesville, Texas, were characterized by themes of intimacy, dignity and humor, despite the sometimes great hardships experienced in those communities.
For the last few years Männikkö has been expanding on a series of work titled Harmony Sisters. Here the outsiders are animals. From farmyards to zoos to natural history displays in museums and curiosity cabinets a variety of creatures are shown in extreme close-up, often with focus on the eye. Since his subjects are animals, some of them no longer living, there is no limit to the camera’s closeness. The intimacy of the images paradoxically objectifies the subject. These photographs play between intimacy and otherness.
Through his choice of motifs, compositions and palette Männikkö’s work shows a keen affinity to painting. His subjects include hunting scenes, still lives and portraiture, and while these scenes are authentic material often drawn from his surroundings, his cropping and arrangements can strongly recall classical genre painting. The connection to painting is emphasized by Männikkö’s choice of frames. In earlier series the frames he used were found and sometimes beaten-up, while more recently they are dark-toned, contoured and self-fabricated.
Esko Männikkö was born in 1959 in Pudasjärvi in the northern part of Finland. He lives and works in Oulu. His work will be exhibited concurrently in Stockholm at Magasin 3 in the traveling exhibition “Investigations of a Dog”. In 2008 he was awarded the prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. The same year he presented „Cocktails 1990-2007“ at Millesgården, Lidingö, Kulturens hus, Luleå and Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall Arendal. Other solo exhibition include presentations at the Finsk-Norsk Kulturinstitutt, Oslo (2004), the Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg (1999), the Malmö Konsthall (1997), as well as Portikus, Frankfurt/Main, De Pont, Tilburg and Lembachhaus, München, all in 1996. He has taken part in numerous international exhibitions including the Venice Biennial (2005), “SEEhistory. Der private Blick,” Kunsthalle zu Kiel (2005), Liverpool Biennial (2004), “Beyond Paradise,” Shanghai Art Museum (2003), “Contemporary Photography II: Anti-Memory,” Yokohama Museum of Art (2000), São Paulo Biennial (1998), and Johannesburg Biennial (1997). Männikkö has had numerous solo exhibitions at Galerie Nordenhake in Stockholm and Berlin.
Untitled, c-print framed by the artist, 90 x 120 cm, Edition of 20
Untitled, c-print framed by the artist, 58 x 80 cm, Edition of 20
Untitled, c-print framed by the artist, 90 x 121 cm, Edition of 20
Untitled, c-print framed by the artist, 101 x 72 cm, Edition of 20
Untitled, c-print framed by the artist, 47 x 63 cm, Edition of 20
Untitled, c-print framed by the artist, 81 x 110 cm, Edition of 20
Untitled, c-print framed by the artist, 75 x 104 cm, Edition of 20
Untitled, c-print framed by the artist, 72 x 101 cm, Edition of 20
Untitled, c-print framed by the artist, 81 x 100 cm, Edition of 20