Pied Piper is the final part of Juhana Moisander’s (b.1977) Ethology of a Man, a trilogy examining human behaviour. The main character of the work is a man immersed in playing music, who gestures the viewer to stay still and try to analyse his internal world. The loneliness exuding from the character is somewhat dispiriting, but it is also impressive.
The name of the work alludes to a German folktale. However, while the Pied Piper of Hamelin was clad in cheerful-looking clothes with vibrant colours, the Pied Piper in Moisander’s work is dressed in a rather formal grey suit.
The Pied Piper’s instruments, a recorder, which grows out of his nose, and a lute, point back to the Baroque period. The music for the work has been modified from Baroque composer Sylvius Leopold Weiss’s chaconne. Weiss achieved particular fame as a highly skilled lute player. In his work, Moisander has stripped the exuberance and grandeur characteristic of the Baroque period to a minimum, but the dramatic undercurrents can still be felt.
The character expresses his emotions by playing the lute and the recorder, which is attached to his face in place of his nose. However, this recorder-nose does not grow in length like Pinocchio’s did. The musician in Pied Piper seems to be in control of the situation in which he finds himself. The subdued form and downward-cast eyes indicate remorse. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the character starts to move backwards, the music becomes distorted, and his hand rises up. What will happen next? The Pied Piper has become trapped in a cycle of self-deception. The present-day Pied Piper continues to embody two opposing traits: a helpful inclination coupled with a deceitful personality. Indeed, the modern times have not progressed far from the days of the Hamelin folktale.
Juhana Moisander lives and works in Karkkila. He completed his Master of Arts degree at the University of Art and Design Helsinki in 2007. Moisander’s works have been presented in several domestic and international exhibitions. The first two parts of the Ethology of a Man series were presented at the Espoo Museum of Modern Art (EMMA), and the Mänttä Art Festival in 2019. Moisander’s works are included in several collections, such as the Helsinki City Art Museum’s (HAM) collection, the collection of the Espoo Museum of Modern Art (EMMA), and Jenni and Antti Wihuri Foundation Collection. In the spring of 2020, Moisander completed a public work, Justitia, commissioned by the State Art Commission, for the new courthouse in Lappeenranta.
– Ulla-Maija Pitkänen