At our summer house, hidden from reality, in this place that is so cosy and so familiar to us, my mother turns to me. “We are happy, aren’t we?” she asks. “Yes, we are,” comes my response, every time. But am I telling the truth? Are we really happy?
Limbo, the latest series of photographic images created by Sami Parkkinen, is an explora-tion of the way humans perceive happiness. To be in limbo is to find yourself in a liminal state, in a place in-between. We’re in limbo when we’re faced with a choice, grappling with indecision, anxious about our future.
We’re surrounded by bad news. It’s a sign of the times that we’ve learned to find swift so-lutions to our problems. Or, to be more accurate, we’ve figured out how and where to hide from them. Pointlessly buying more and more things and endlessly watching the Netflix series might give temporary relief from ourselves, but the aftertaste is hollow.
We know that we need to take action if we are to break away from this self-perpetuating cycle of disaster we have brought on ourselves. The to-do list is as long as it is urgent. We must: take better care of our planet, eradicate war, eliminate hunger, reduce our carbon footprint and, above all, love one another more and better.
With a dash of humour and melancholy, Sami Parkkinen’s photographs offer small but in-sightful clues to life’s big questions. The desire to work for the common good should be an in-built human characteristic, but what will it take for all of us to start our own personal revolution? How do we extricate ourselves from the limbo?
At least he tried.
Gallery Vasli Souza
Sami Parkkinen (1974–) is a Finnish photographer. He employs photography and sculpture to in-vestigate the human consciousness and the need to rebuild society. Since 2009, he has exhibited at a number of museums and galleries, including the National Portrait Gallery, London in 2015, Circu-lation(s) – Festival de la Jeune Photographie Européenne, Paris in 2016 and the Finnish Museum of Photography in 2010. In autumn 2020, the Finnish National Museum’s main exhibition will feature works from Sami Parkkinen’s series Father and Son (2012–2020). Sami Parkkinen’s works can be found in many notable public and private collections, both in Finland and abroad