A group of reporters has gathered around a minister to ask questions about the progress of the key elements of government policy. The minister replies with a grave face. The shoelace of his polished black shoe is tightly tangled in a knot.
After spending three hours in a municipal council meeting in Mäntsälä, Southern Finland, the attendees engage in a brief gymnastic break. The delegates wave their arms from side to side as directed in the high-ceilinged wood-laminate auditorium.
Parliamentary election day is quiet at the Nuorgam school. There have been four voters on this bright spring morning. The polling booth, made out of cardboard boxes from the old village shop, has become worn over the decades but stands firm as the sharp wind blows over the fells outside.
Some Observations on the Finnish Political System (2015–2019) is a documentary trilogy by photographer Sakari Piippo (b. 1981). It travels from the pinnacle of political power, Finnish government press briefings, to municipal council meetings and, at election time, to polling stations.
Instead of glorious headline-making election wins, power games between top politicians and decisions that intrigue and shock the nation, this quiet work examines the dry everyday toil in politics: wrinkled suit jackets, drawn-out council meetings, and the small but dignified ritual performed on one’s way to do the shopping – voting.
The exhibition will also feature the release of Piippo's first book of photography, Some Observations on the Political System of Finland, published by Kosmos.
The exhibition has received funding from the Patricia Seppälä Foundation, the Foundation for the Promotion of Journalistic Culture, and the Finnish Cultural Foundation (SKR).