The passing of time and transient moments play a major role within the painterly, poetic tableaux of Finnish photographer Esko Männikkö, as reflected in this first major retrospective. He is a self-taught photographer, who uses no manipulation, just skilful positioning and natural beauty. Each of Männikkö’s works is displayed in a wooden frame, either found or made by the photographer – an action consistent throughout his practice, with the frame becoming part of the piece, to strengthen the artwork’s links to art history.
Living in the sparsely-populated northern Finnish countryside, a hunter who explores his home and takes thousands of photographs each day, Männikkö reflects upon decay, deterioration and the life cycles that surround us, as well as our own. The people that he captures are displayed with respect, gazing sharply down the lens, surrounded by the ephemera of their own daily life. Many of Männikkö’s portraits capture the elderly while his still lives record the decrepitude of our outside world; however, the photographer handles the subjects so carefully, and gently, with the aesthetic of a painter – each piece has its own palette, lit as it should be, framed within a unique, custom-built set of constraints.
Esko Männikkö: Time Flies, 12 September – 6 December, Huis Marseille, Keizersgracht 401, 1016 EK Amsterdam, Netherlands.
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Find out more www.huismarseille.nl/en/exhibition/esko-mannikko/.
1. Esko Männikkö, Selma q 2001, Organized Freedom series, 2001. Courtesy of the artist and Huis Marseille.