Esko Männikkö, Stockholm, January 10th - February 21st, 2004
Esko Männikkö is well known for his photographs of bachelor men living alone in small cottages on the Finnish countryside, as for his "Mexas" series that explores a border zone in Texas with a predominately Mexican population. These portraits are imbued both with references to classical portraits, where attributes and setting are playing major roles, and with a deep respect for the persons depicted.
The main part of the works in the exhibition in Stockholm is from his most recent series of work "Flora & Fauna". The title is nicked from an independent whiskey producer in Scotland famous for their plants and animal scenes on the labels. In these works Esko Männikkö is exploring the elements behind the scenes. As in all works by the artist it becomes apparent how meticulously composed they are. Each element, colour, light, texture, and metaphorical incidents challenges our will to see photography as a faithful reproduction of reality.
In the exhibition are also some photographs from the series "Organized Freedom." These are photographs taken in his native Finland of rough front doors and porches of country cottages with their flaking paint scarred by the weather. The home built architecture, often constructed of scrap material, has been further transformed and adapted by nature. In these images human tracks, traces and limitations take on a weird beauty of their own, as they are remorselessly absorbed into a greater context.
Esko Männikkö is born in 1959 in Pudasjärvi in the northern part of Finland. In 1995 he was recognised as the young artist of the year in Finland. The same year he came into focus of an international audience in after participating in "Campo," Venice and after Peter Schjeldahl wrote a brilliant review in Artforum on his works at "ARS," Helsinki. Other important exhibitions were the ones at Portikus, Frankfurt am Main, De Pont, Tilburg and at Lenbachhaus, München in 1996. Since then he has taken part in numerous international exhibitions such as the Johannesburg Biennial, 1997, "Nuit Blanche," Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, São Paulo Biennial, 1998, "Photographs 1980 - 1998," Hasselblad Center, Göteborg, in 1999, the Kwangju Biennial, "Contemporary Photography II: Anti-Memory," Yokohama Museum of Art, and in "Organising Freedom," Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2000.
Anas Plathyrhynchus?, 2001, c-print, 46 x 54 cm
Särkijärvi, 2002, c-print, 45 x 54 cm
Salmo Trutta Lacustris?, 2001, c-print, 46 x 52 cm