Ville Lenkkeri: Medical Records of a Small Town
09.03.2019 - 07.04.2019
Vernissage 8.3.2019 at 5pm
Medical Records of a small town is Ville Lenkkeri’s study of his father Doctor Hannu Lenkkeri’s relationship to his hometown Mänttä. It’s also a subjective way for the son to settle accounts with the father who unexpectedly passed away six years ago.
Doctor Lenkkeri was an eccentric figure that bowed for no one and who still is the subject of many legendary stories in Mänttä. Almost everyone that ever stepped their foot to his practice has a memory of him. Doctor Hannu Lenkkeri did his medical specialization studies in Oulu and his son was born while he was still studying. For decades Lenkkeri wrote down the medical records of the people of Mänttä with his typewriter. Eventually the writings started to draw an image of the state of the small town. Finally a huge metallic file cabinet was filled with the records and so the life mission of the doctor was fulfilled and it was time for him to go.
Ville Lenkkeri says that his father was a socially restricted admirer of poetry, history, agriculture and right-mindedness. The contradiction between what he spoke and of his actions was often remarkable. Ville Lenkkeri was surprised when he was years later told that his father actually was a funny man. He started to realize that the role that the doctor took in public was totally different from the one he had at home. Hannu Lenkkeri spent most of his free time at his summer cottage immersing himself into physical work. His projects were often enormous and an effort to find an easier route was never taken. From year to another he dig up stones from the road leading to the cottage, chopped down firewood with his axe and grew potatoes and cabbage beyond his own need.
Hannu Lenkkeri was pleased to be photographed by his son who used a full format camera to take the pictures. The images are staged but most of them have a memory of a similar real life scene behind them. In spring 2011 Hannu Lenkkeri passed away. Ville Lenkkeri documented the heritage of his late father and recorded stories of him. The exhibition includes a video with some of the stories. Ville Lenkkeri states that Medical Records of a Small Town is not to be viewed as an accurate description of history or the life of the doctor.
The broader theme of the exhibition is the father-son relationship, the continuum of time and the irreconcilable roles that a person has in private and in public. Ville Lenkkeri first photographed his father for the Petrified Forest exhibition that was shown in Serlachius museum in 2014 and 2015. Later the project started living it’s own life and developed into a full body of works.
The exhibition was previously shown in Mänttä in Serlachius museum Gustaf from June 2017 to April 2018. Some of the images were also shown in Considering Finland, which was an exhibition showcasing Finnish photographic art in Lidwighhafen and Mannheim between November 2018 and January 2019. Medical Records of a Small Town was also published by Kerber Verlag in 2017.