Kenneth Bamberg Johan 12.4.–5.5.2024

Photographic Gallery Hippolyte

Kenneth Bamberg ‘s exhibition Johan at Photographic Gallery Hippolyte deals with violence experienced by men in relationships. What are the cultural notions and structures that make it so difficult for men to show their feelings and weaknesses? How seriously do the authorities take physically and psychologically abused men? The exhibition is dedicated to a man named Johan, who was murdered by his ex-partner before the exhibition was completed.

Bamberg became interested in the subject after reading a newspaper article about a man who had called the emergency services after being assaulted by his wife. The emergency dispatcher had asked if he was really taking a beating from a woman and wanted to know the size difference between the husband and the wife. Eventually, the emergency services advised him to deal with the situation on his own.

The series of works in Johan is based on words and stories of men: personal photos and video interviews of men, victims of domestic violence, form a key part of the exhibition. Bamberg has found the interviewees through organisations that help victims of violence, and they were involved in the process as volunteers. The works feature participants from all Nordic countries. Their fates are different: one has been threatened with a knife by their wife, another has reported suffering heart attacks from constant fear and stress, and a third has been doused with lighter fluid. In addition to the portraits of the men, the exhibition features words and phrases taken from the victims’ stories embroidered on canvas by Bamberg.

Bamberg received the 2022 Men’s Work Award from the Council for Gender Equality (Tane) for his work addressing violence experienced by men, particularly through his Johan series.


Kenneth Bamberg (b. 1981 Åland) completed a master’s degree in photography at the Aalto University in 2011. Influenced by growing up on the Åland islands, he investigates from different points of view cultural and traditional ways of expressing masculinity. One of the goals is to open up new perspectives on the traditionally familiar and persistent images of masculinity. Bamberg’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Finnish Institute in Madrid and Gallery VU in Quebec as well as in group exhibitions in the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen and at the Fotomuseum Winterthur in Zurich. Bamberg has been awarded several prizes and grants, for example, two three-year long working grants by the Finnish Cultural Foundation (Suomen Kulttuurirahasto) and the Kone Foundation.


The exhibition has been supported by Akillesjouren, The Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters, Horsens Krisecenter for mænd, Miessakit Association, Miesten asema, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Finnfoto, Kone Foundation, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Svenska kulturfonden, Finnish-Swedish Cultural Fund, Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Fund, Nordic Culture Point, Svenska litteratursällskapet, Nygrens stiftelse, Oskar Öflunds stiftelse, Council for Gender Equality, Otto A. Malm Foundation, Reform, MannsForum and Samtök um karlaathvarf.


For those who have experienced and committed domestic violence, help is available. Here you can find the supportive services of the City of Helsinki.


Kenneth Bamberg
12 April–5 May 2024
Photographic Gallery Hippolyte


image: Kenneth Bamberg, Oak No.2, 2022