2015 OCT–DEC

Pia Männikkö

Pia Männikkö: Still Live, 2010, unfired clay.

For Pia Männikkö’s artistic practice the concepts of body and space are not only mere starting points, something from which something else may be found, experimented, and contested. They are the primary concepts that establish the ontology of her art, and through which all the decisions and details can be grounded and understood.

We experience and perceive human bodies through their weight, and especially volume, a concept that Männikkö is also fascinated about. Nonetheless, the common way to encounter bodies of others is through imagery, where two-dimensional surfaces depict and represent the objectified figures in architectural spaces. Our daily lens is the spectacle, which separates the physical and lived from the abstract and seen.

Männikkö’s work questions the spectacularity of film and opens a way for the viewer to actually feel the volume that a body has left in a space. She insists that we remember the body as a physical being filling up space, reclaiming its personal place through movement

Pia Männikkö: Tenses (Örebro), 2013, digital photograph.

Movement is related to passage of time, which introduces the performative element into Männikkö’s work. Recording of time is evident here. However, she is not so much an archivalist, even though she tends to use photographs that document her works in a manner that makes it not at all obvious if the actual artwork is the document or the documented. This quality is present for instance in Männikkö’s work Tenses, which she will be continuing during her residency in New York.

Pia Männikkö: Tenses (Mänttä), 2014, digital photograph.

Despite the formal affinity to archival interest, Männikkö's use of documentary photography rather refers to personal memory than to an archive. Her materials often include recycled or hardware type of goods, i.e. material with a history and a context outside the art world. The personal feeling is enforced by the materials that through their physicality (e.g. hand-molded clay and masking tape) establish an intimate connection with the viewer, as does the application of human scale in many of her works, too.

The recognizable presence of the body in space encourages in the viewer an awareness of one's own temporal and spatial being. This shared bodily experience makes one recall the post-minimalist Eva Hesse, whose associative and organic use of materials and psychological openness form one reference in Männikkö’s art, too.

Pia Männikkö will be participating in the Triangle Arts Association’s Residency Program located in Dumbo, Brooklyn, spending her 3-month residency period in New York in October–December 2015 as a part of Triangle’s international network of professional artists.