In the north of Finland, in the region between the forests of Lapland and rural eastern Bothnia, to be exact, are places where the colour photographs of the Finnish artist Esko Männikkö (b. 1959) are created: "Kuhmo", "Sodankylä", "Kuivaniemi" and others are simultaneously the titles of his works. Designating the area is important, not in the sense of regional limitation, but as en expression of partaking in a life-world. Esko Männikkö knows what he shoots, and he shoots what he is familiar with. He is a documentarian, but one who participates.

Eskö Männikkö's work comprises still-lifes of birds and fish (he is an enthusiastic fisherman), panoramic landscape shots, and photographs of forestry workers, hunters, fishermen, and unemployed persons, who usually live hermitic lives in remote regions. He depicts these people in their domestic ambience surrounded by a self-made world of objects; they don't pose or look exalted - they are, moreover, quiet, reserved and dignified, soaked with inalienable peculiarity that is characteristic of each person, but that only surfaces in dialogic eye-contact. Old frames, tailored for each shot, lend the photographs a picturesque and timeless character.

With more than 40 works, the exhibition at Portikus is the first large exhibition of Esko Männikkö's work of the past years. This exhibition project, initiated and organised by Portikus Frankfurt, will begin in Frankfurt and then move on to the De Pont Foundation Tilburg, the Lenbachhaus Munich, and the Palais des Beaux-Arts Brussels.

Photos: Katrin Schilling