Standing With Nature


Arno Rafael Minkkinen
09.12.22 - 04.03.23

Arno Rafael Minkkinen (born in Helsinki, 1945) is a Finnish-American photographer. His work, praised worldwide, is totally dedicated to self-portrait with a militant background in favour of a better place for mankind within nature. The role he assigns himself is often modest, faded, evocative of a Paradise Lost where humankind started its ontological journey. A poetical resident of the world, his world, Minkkinen considers his intervention within the landscape as a natural extension of his body, thereby quoting a part in relation with the whole. A tautology that brings us to discover how a human body, his own, is perfectly integrated within a nature he is part of but also dependent on. As a matter of fact, the artist never hesitates to put himself at at risk, pushing the limits of what is possible or tolerable through body constraint in connection with breathing, contortion or resistance to heat and cold techniques. An ascetic, fakir-like posture that sometimes leads to vanishing. The photographer always works on his own, takes his pictures with a timer, with no subsequent editing nor external intervention.

Art being an imitation of nature, Minkkinen initiates a true mise en abyme: The photographer literally merges, lurks, vanishes even into the heart of a nature/artist, accounting for their respective talent. The artist is thereby also nature’s work, which he mirrors to exist inside it. A brilliant perspective, Minkkinen’s scenography sets him inside his own work, creator and creature at the same time.

Exhibited worldwide, Minkkinen’s work belongs to the collections of New York’s MoMA, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Andover’s Addison Gallery of American Arts, Massachusetts, Centre Pompidou and the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, Lausanne’s Photo Elysée Museum, Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography, the Finnish Museum of Photography and Tokyo’s Metropolitan Museum of Photography, among others. It has been made the subject of dozens of publications, monographic or not, and has been unanimously praised by critics. Laureate of the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2015, Minkkinen also taught photography at Lowell University, Massachusetts and at Aalto’s School of Art, Architecture and Design in Helsinki.

Espace Grande Nef