8.2.–3.3.2013, Teemu Mäki: How to be a Woman or a Man?

Photographic Gallery Hippolyte

Yrjönkatu 8–10 (courtyard), 00120 Helsinki, Finland,
+358 9 612 33 44, www.hippolyte.fi
Open: Tue–Fri 12–17, Sat–Sun 12–16

How to Be a Woman or a Man?

Discussion on Wednesday 13 February at 5 p.m. Participants: Elina Brotherus, Teemu Mäki, Jemima Repo & Tiina Rosenberg. The discussion is in Finnish.


How to Be a Woman or a Man? is a series of portraits of women and men. They are of many different ages, genders, outlooks on life and professions. In the photographs, I try to visualize the life-long internal and external struggle that we go through, while trying to live with the male and female roles produced by our culture.

The second major theme in the series is mortality, of which also sexuality is a dimension. Only the discontinuous creatures that do not reproduce by dividing, but by uniting, need sexes and sexualities.

Although gender in its ultimate sense has a biological origin, gender still is mainly a cultural product. Some of us try to fulfill the roles expected by our surroundings, while others hesitate which role or combination of roles they should try to fulfill. Others again, actively rework given roles or even are at war against stereotypical roles, not accepting any of the given ideals.

For the series, I have taken portraits with a camera, of ostensibly ordinary people as well as obviously exceptional men and women. As models, I have had children, adults and elderly people, whom I have photographed alone as well as in pairs and sometimes in groups consisting of three generations. In my exhibition at Hippolyte, I present a selection of 20 works, which is half of the hitherto 40 works included in the series.

Teemu Mäki
(1967–) is an artist, Doctor of Fine Arts and Professor of Fine Arts in Aalto University. He works in the fields of art, philosophy and politics by whatever means necessary. The results are usually some kind of visual art, theater, literature or theory. For him art is the most flexible, versatile and holistic form of philosophy and politics.


 Teemu Mäki, Hilkka Eklund – Seeing and Singing (a double portrait), 2013Teemu Mäki, Hilkka Eklund – Seeing and Singing (a double portrait), 2013