Aki-Pekka Sinikoski is a Helsinki-based photographer and author whose best-known works include Finnish Teens (2011), Last Machos (2016), I Love Dogs (2020) and New Ghosts (2011–2058). Sinikoski often describes his artistic photo production methods as lengthy and time consuming. According to Sinikoski this is because of the exceptional scope of the documentary series but also due to his wish to capture the passing of time. He is not looking for decisive moments but rather the stagnant feeling just after these moments.
Sinikoski has graduated as Master of Art from the Department of Media at Aalto University, Finland. His major subject is from the Aalto University’s Institution of Photography. His work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions both in Finland and abroad, and his work has been published by e.g. The Guardian and Vogue Italia.
Change and identity are reoccurring themes in Sinikoski’s work. He works in multiple different mediums, and the medium selects itself through the aim and content of the project at hand.
‘’I love both words and photographs. One of the biggest differences between the two mediums is the way that they are perceived by the observer. In a text the story is formed a word and a sentence at a time, and what is said in the next sentence does not exist until it is read. Photograph on the other hand reveals immediately some sort of general view, which gets more detailed the longer you spend observing the photo. Photograph also has always a somewhat strong relationship to reality,’’ Sinikoski explains.
This residency period was Sinikoski’s third time working in Ii. His previous visits were in 2015 and 2016.
‘’I feel very comfortable here in Ii and KulttuuriKauppila, it’s a good place to be. In the mornings the neighbour’s rooster greets me when it hears my footsteps approaching. Life is calm and simple, but at the same time I feel that the place is almost magical. Few nights ago I finished writing late at night, and went out for a stroll. By coincidence I ended up jamming with local musicians in the neighbourhood, who I met during my previous residency period in Ii. In between the jamming we went outside to just talk and admire the magical Northern Lights illuminating the sky above us. It was an unforgettable night that just happened, without any plan.’’
During his residency period in Ii, Sinikoski worked on a sound installation, his photographs and two different book projects.
‘’The first book project is continuation to my children’s book ‘Under the Moon‘ (Kuun valossa / Under månen)which was published last year. The other book is related to the ‘New Ghost’ photography series, which I have been working on with my daughter Astrid since 2011. The series has been shot around the world, including here in Ii in 2016 when I was here in a residency together with my daughter. KulttuuriKauppila has become a dear place to me, where I have found both like-minded people as well as the peace and quiet to listen to myself. During my residencies I have managed to get a lot of work done, but at the same time also take my artistic work forward, even to new directions.’’
Hello my friend! Even it’s still winter up here in the north, today you can already feel the spring in the air. Finally we are going towards the light 😊❄️🌞
I have some good exhibition news for you as well. We will have a New Ghosts exhibition in Kunsthalle Turku (Turun Taidehalli) during next summer. So happy to hit the road again with my favourite artist, my daughter Astrid. ⭐️
Ilja Karsikas has illustrated my first children’s book, and yesterday he was visiting a brand new culture program, Kulttuuri Cocktail; YLE is broadcasting in prime time.
Award-winning culture journalist Paavo Häikiö described our book Kuun valossa (Under månen) as the best children’s book he has read for many years. He adds that he still got chills just by thinking about it. Whole comment in Finnish here below:
Ylen kulttuuritoimittaja Paavo Häikiö:
”Kuun valossa -lastenkirja on paras lastenkirja mitä mä oon lukenut siis vuosikausiin. -Siis aivan mielettömän hyvä! — — Tämä kosketti. Olin aivan tippa linssissä. Suosittelen! Olen omien lapsien kanssa käynyt kymmeniä lastenkirjoja läpi, niin tämä nousi ihan sinne kärkeen. Kylmät väreet tulee vieläkin.”
We have some good news for you… Or more precisely: YLE has some good TV News for you. Here is our New Ghosts interview broadcasted by YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Company) TV News. Unfortunately it’s only in Finnish but on the other hand it was sent to every single home here in Finland.
And for our Finnish followers: Tuolta alla olevan linkin takaa löytyy myös Ylen tekemä melkein 10 minuuttinen radiohaastattelu meistä kahdesta:
Suomen Kuvalehti (one of the most important magazines in Finland) listed best books in Finland 2020. My First book included!!!
“Äiti on lentänyt kuuhun ja isä vaihtanut sirkuksesta postille töihin. Lapsi on mielellään yksin kotona, sillä silloin saa olla juuri niin kuin haluaa. Surua käsitellään sadussa tavattoman kauniisti ja lohdullisesti, se sekoittuu lempeästi elämäniloon ja seikkailuun. Yhtenä päivänä lapsi sukeltaa kylpyammeen kautta haaksirikkoutuneiden saarelle, löytää uusia ystäviä ja oppii jännittäviä asioita. Sinikosken tekstissä on filosofisia pohdintoja. Karsikkaan unenomaisen pehmeä vesivärikuvitus herättää tekstin eloon fantastisten hahmojen ja maisemien avulla.” – Suomen Kuvalehti 49/2020
“Mumhas flown to the moon, and the dad has changed workplaces from the circus to post. The little child is happy to stay at home alone, as he then can be whatever he likes to be. Sadness in this book is dealt with in an incredibly beautiful and comforting way, blending it with the zest for life and adventures. One day, while taking his bath, the child dives underwater and discovers an island, where he meets new friends and learns new, exciting things. Sinikoski’s text is full of philosophical reflections, and Karsikas’s dreamy and warm watercolour illustrations bring the text to life through fantastical characters and landscapes.” – Suomen Kuvalehti 49/2020
I Love Dogs at VB Photo Centre, 4.12.2020–28.2.2021.
Why have I photographed Finnish men whose identities include pup play?
After my best friend died the people around me reacted in different ways to our common loss. The coping of this sudden and unwanted reminder of how limited also our own lives are, took different shapes for all of us. For one of my friends these existential questions strengthened the idea of not only being a father, but also a dog.
I often photograph things I want to learn more about or get to know better. This series was born from the need to understand my friend better, because at least from my perspective, the transformation from a father with seemingly traditional values to a dog was quite big.
My friend has been incredibly brave and I’m proud and happy that he doesn’t need to hide or be ashamed of this part of his life anymore when he is with me. Photographing this series has been a great adventure and I have learned a lot not only about people, but also dogs and myself. It is actually unbelievably relaxing to drive on the parking lot of the local supermarket with a rubber dog in the backseat that puffs to the mailman passing by. At that moment you don’t think about life or death, you just feel pure joy.” Aki-Pekka Sinikoski, Photographer
”It has been great that Peki (Aki-Pekka) wanted to get to know this part of life which is important to me. We have been driving around Finland, talked a lot and photographed doggies in the gay scene. Many have felt that it is remarkable and important to be able to be part of this photo series and exhibition. There is still a lot of stigma connected to the fetishes and many in the gay fetish scene has needed to come out twice; first as a sexual minority person and then as a fetishist.
Fetish and BDSM lifestyle has followed me from my childhood, but the road to self- acceptance has been long. After our common friend passed away, I realized how limited life is and how important it is to live as ourselves. It has felt liberating that I have finally been able to be my own kind of me also with Peki. The fact that I haven’t needed to hide one part of my life from him, has also deepened our friendship.”
Gallery Hippolyte, Helsinki (2.10.–25.10.2020) Photo Vogue Festival, Milan (30.10.–22.11.2020) Yeltsin Center, Yekaterinburg (8.11.–22.11.2020) Northern Photographic Centre, Oulu (7.11.2020-24.1.2021)
Smaller edition also exhibited at: Backlight Photo Festival, Visual Catalysts, Tampere (26.9.–18.10.2020) Backlight Photo Festival, Light in the Tunnel, Tampere (5.9.–31.12.2020)
“We do not believe in ghosts, nor in photos. We believe in each other.”
Aki-Pekka and Astrid Sinikoski’s exhibition New Ghosts portrays the relationship between father and daughter and their attempts to understand life, change, and the passage of time. The show raises questions about identity, adulthood and childhood, life and death—what kind of role models, ideals, and future scenarios do we create for each other?
When we are young, our fears are often easy to name. We are afraid of monsters, ghosts or, for example, the tree’s shadow behind a window. Often, as we grow older, fears become more abstract—these new amorphous anxieties create new unnamed phantoms, a sort of “ghost” in one’s life which cannot be named. While filming the “ghost study,” Sinikoskis have observed that fears are often revealed in dreams. When one gets to know these apparitions better and tame the faceless figure, they turn into a gateway to one’s dreams.
The body of work on display at Photographic Gallery Hippolyte features the photographic works of two different series: New Ghosts and Ghost Studies with Flowers. The latter collection is on display for the first time and examines mortality, life, and beauty in brief moments. Discussions between Sinikoskis and the “ghosts” act as a starting point for both series. While filming all over the world, father and daughter spent long periods on the road. On these trips, they expanded their “ghost study,” but also organised numerous mini-exhibitions lasting less than a day, and to celebrate transcience. The images presented were mainly printed on canvas. All sorts of public spaces, like emptied swimming pools in the suburbs, were commissioned as galleries.
Aki-Pekka and Astrid Sinikoski’s “ghost study” began in 2011. The series is scheduled to be completed in 2058, when Aki-Pekka turns 80 and Astrid 50. So far, New Ghosts has been presented on three different continents. After Hippolyte’s exhibition, the collection will be seen at the Photo Vogue Festival in Milan, among other places.
Aki-Pekka Sinikoski lives and works in Helsinki. As a portrait and documentary photographer, he is best known for his photo series Finnish Teens (2011) and Last Machos (2016). In his artistic processes, Sinikoski strives to capture the passing of time; as a result, projects are often lengthy and time-consuming. He is not looking for decisive moments but rather the stagnant feeling just after these moments. Sinikoski worked as the artistic director of the Helsinki Biennale from 2006 to 2009. In 2020, he made his debut as a children’s author with his work Under månen (transl. Under the Moon, Schildts & Söderströms). This longingly comforting and philosophical book tells a story of a child’s life after his mother’s death. Sinikoski hopes the book will bring light and warmth to where it is needed most.
Astrid Sinikoski is a seventh-grade high school student. She plays basketball, loves animals, and enjoys drawing. She has a joint punk and techno band with her father, Raidalliset Lapset (Engl. Striped Children). Admittedly, the band has never released anything other than punk, as neither has yet learned to play techno.
The exhibition is kindly supported by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Finnfoto, and Konstsamfundet.