MARKKU LAAKSOEvery Day Is a Sauna Day 5.5.2004 – 23.5.2004
Artist Markku Laakso (b. 1970) was born and brought up in Northern Lapland. Aged 17, he left in pursuit of his great interest, art, first to study at the Liminka School of Art near Oulu, later at the Turku Drawing School. To ease his homesickness, Markku´s final year project was based on the nature of Lapland complemented by a boy in a traditional Lappish costume and Markku´s long term idol - 1970s Elvis Presley. The artist had thus invented a contradictory, thought provoking, visually striking combination for his work. According to Laakso, Elvis and a Lapland boy represent two different sides of his personality. They also raise the question of what will happen to native cultures under the increasing pressure of western culture.
The new exhibition introduces a Lapland boy, Lapland girl, Elvis, the nature of Lapland in different seasons and Finnish sauna culture in a traditional, romantic light. The works are based on several hundred photographs taken by Markku Laakso of models, nature and himself in an Elvis or Lappish costume. His work is influenced by artists from the Nordic golden age. Paintings of sauna culture have been modeled on Akseli Gallen-Kallela´s Aino triptych, as well as the island maidens and the social realism of Kalevala, the influence of which can be detected in the layout and atmosphere of Markku´s work. Some models´ postures bring to mind paintings by Alexander Deineka.