KARI SOINIOThe Scent of a Man
The photographs in the series The Scent of a Man introduce hero to a new location on a rocky bed of moss beneath open skies. There our hero lounges, listening to unseen voices. He emerges from the water and feels the sun on his skin. The hero steps ashore and disappears behind the rocks. He lies on moss-covered stones and takes in the northern scenery. He can be found in the Iceland of sharp rock and soft moss and the Finland of dark waters and blue skies. The scenery and the character enter into dialogue in the images. Although he rises from the waters like Väinämöinen in Kalevala and hearing the words of the elves, the man does not dominate his environment in the manner of a hero.
The hero and nature/landscape appear interactively in and out of focus. When the man emerges from the water, the image sharpens and the person becomes an image of his environment. Around him, there begin to appear the signs of civilization - how will our soft-contoured hero rising from the reeds cope with the (modern) world? With bluster or with understanding?
The Scent of a Man examines perception and its expression; the images are akin to alternative nature photos. Will the images communicate sounds, smells, and sensations to the viewer?
In a sense, The Scent of a Man is a retroactive introduction to my previous exhibition Return of the Hero. As in my earlier projects, I continue to ponder human identity. How do we want to inhabit our bodies and how do we relate to our surroundings and history? Are we a part of nature or its master?
The Scent of a Man explores themes familiar from many of my earlier exhibitions: the corporeality of man, masculinity and femininity, sexuality and sensuality, and relationship with nature and the environment.