MARKKU LAAKSOBetween Birth and Death

Twins on the edge of a glacier, 2015
oil on canvas
200 x 255 cm

Between Birth and Death

My paintings are connected by the mutual relationships of human beings and different cultures with each other and with nature - confusion in the random turmoil of life.

The exhibition's eponymous series of paintings, Between Birth and Death (2011-2015), consists of sixty-five paintings of identical size. I decided to paint spontaneously, on a whim, without worrying about any link or theme between the paintings. I had slabs of two different sizes sawn out of wood to make bases for the paintings. The smaller paintings form a 150-part series called Little Life (2011-2014), and the slightly larger bases constitute the series on display in this exhibition, Between Birth and Death. The series is like a slow Instagram that I have been updating for four years now. I chose the subjects just before painting them, according to my mood at the moment. I gave myself completely free rein, and the subjects range from the completely marginal to the extremely personal. The whole encompasses the private and the public, paintings born out of observations and images reminiscent of photos in an album. Together, they constitute the imagery between birth and death.

The paintings' subjects of naked sleepers and people yawning, stretching and waking up in sleeping bags have been inspired by various sources over the years. The depiction of nakedness in my paintings originally stemmed from a love for classical art, and this motive has not changed very much, merely acquired additional tones from contemporary art. Most of my sleeping bag themes have been inspired by Michaelangelo's frescos in the Sistine Chapel. In late 2014, I spent a month in Florence and Rome acquainting myself with the art treasures of the Renaissance. To me, these paintings represent emotions in an in-between space, confusion, conflict between shame and freedom, and the burden of the Fall. A sleeping bag is a private shell - a nest. And yet, in the end, man is always naked, exposed under the sleeping bag or layer of clothing. As a feminist, I try not to categorise my subjects by gender, while acknowledging the inevitable limitations of presentation. Corporality is an always changing definition, moulded by time and culture like fashion.

Twins on the Edge of a Glacier (2015) is an image of an emotion, like all my twin themes. They are not illustrations of a narrative or references to actual events. In the images, serious twins have stopped in an intermediate space, in the moment before change or its comprehension. Twins emphasise the contradiction and insolubility of a life. There are a multitude of directions and alternatives, in the past and in the future.

Markku Laakso

Markku Laakso (born 1970) was born in Enontekiö, Lapland, and became famous for his Elvis-themed paintings. He lives and works in Turku. In the past decade, Laakso has expanded his oeuvre into photography and video art. His shared projects with his wife, artist Annika Dahlsten, have dealt with subjects such as Laakso's Sami roots. Since 1988, Laakso has held several private exhibitions and taken part in joint exhibitions in Finland and the Nordic countries, along with countries such as Italy, France, Iceland, Japan, the United States and Germany. In the past year, his work has been exhibited in venues such as the Northern Souls joint exhibition in London and the Sámi Contemporary exhibition in Kungsbacka, Sweden. The exhibition is currently on display at the Felleshus in Berlin.

 
  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_Ilmari_Elina_ja_Serafiina_makuupusseissa_2015

    Ilmari, Elina and Serafiina in Sleeping Bags, 2015
    oli on canvas
    130 x 130 cm

  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_Heraaminen_2013

    Awakening, 2013
    oil on canvas
    130 x 130 cm

  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_Noora_makuupussissa_2015

    Noora in Sleeping Bag, 2015
    oil on cavas
    50 x 40 cm

  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_Kaksoset_sumuisessa_metsassa_2015

    Twins in a Foggy Forest, 2015
    oil on canvas
    160 x 230 cm

  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_KAKSOSET_LUMISESSA_METSASSA_2015

    Twins in a Snowy Forest, 2015
    oil on canvas
    90 x 130 cm

  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_SYNTYMAN_JA_KUOLEMA_VALISSA_2011_2015

    Between Birth and Death, 2011-2015
    Series of works, oil on board
    65 pcs, á 40 x 40 cm

  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_Syntyman_ja_kuoleman_valissa_2015-2

    From series Between Birth and Death, 2011-2015
    oil on board
    40 x 40 cm

  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_Syntyman_ja_kuoleman_valissa_2015-3

    From series Between Birth and Death, 2011-2015
    oil on board
    40 x 40 cm

  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_Syntyman_ja_kuoleman_valissa_2015-4

    from series Between Birth and Death, 2011-2015
    oil on board
    40 x 40 cm

  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_Syntyman_ja_kuoleman_valissa_2015-5

    From series Between Birth and Death, 2011-2015
    oil on board
    40 x 40 cm

  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_Syntyman_ja_kuoleman_valissa_2015

    From series Between Birth and Death, 2011-2015
    oil on board
    40 x 40 cm

  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_Pohjoisen_poika_2015

    A Boy from North, 2015
    oil on canvas
    180 x 180 cm

  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_Kaksonen-yksin_2015

    Twin alone, 2015
    oil on canvas
    90 x 130 cm

  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_Annika_nukkuu_2014

    Annika Sleeping, 2014
    oil on board
    20 x 15 cm

  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_Mari_ja_tyyny_2015

    Mari and Pillow, 2015
    oil on board
    20 x 15 cm

  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_Ilmari-nukkuu_2015

    Ilmari in Sleeping Bag, 2014
    oil on board
    20 x 15 cm

  • laakso/2015/MARKKU_LAAKSO_Mari_Serafiina_ja_Ilmari_makuupusseissa_2014-15

    Mari, Serafiina and Ilmari in Sleeping Bags, 2014-2015
    oil on canvas
    190 x 190 cm

 
 
 
 
 
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