texte en anglais seulementConsidering her autobiographical work on the body which has iconic status among contemporary photographers, it was only appropriate to include Finnish artist Elina Brotherus in this seventh edition of the European Month of photography. This exhibition at Villa Vauban brings together major works from different series from the last two decades. It is the artist’s first monographic exhibition in Luxembourg, although some of her works have been exhibited previously in Luxembourg and Dudelange. She was exhibited on the occasion of the Semaines européennes de l’image and European Month of Photography at Nei Liicht Gallery (2002, 2009). She also participated in group shows curated by the CNA in 2007 and Casino Luxembourg – Forum d’art contemporain (2001, 2007). is well known for her self-portraits in indoor and outdoor settings, elegantly defying everyday situations. Elina Brotherus challenges photography with pictorial aesthetics by referring to the major themes of art history without really embracing their characteristics.
Exploring the genre of landscape and nude, her physical involvement and presence in her pictures makes her art more than visually pleasing; she rather goes beyond the nature of her personal emotions in order to grasp the universal aspects of human feelings.
In her series The New Painting (2000-2004) – a title which refers to the status of photography in relation to painting during the 19th century – she characterizes her relationship with pictorial art by borrowing from the great masters the same values of composition, form and colour while staging it within the topics of the contemporary environment of everyday life.
Be it her magnificent “back views” in the pantheistic beauty of the northern landscapes inspired by Kaspar David Friedrich or her surreptitious presence in nude drawing sessions in her series Model Studies (2002-2008) and Études d’après modèle, danseurs (2007), Elina Brotherus creates photographs like paintings while seeking a dialogue between the flow of life and the timelessness of art
Since the beginning, in well-structured series she has explored the different recurring themes in her work: the landscape, the house, the painter and his model, etc. These are fed by autobiographical elements and her static presence in the picture. The artist’s pose and gesture, which are frozen in photography, are sometimes part of a visual language game where humour meets pictorial allegory. This is the case with her series Règle du jeu (2017), which originates in a collaboration with her friend Vera Nevanlinna, with whom she creates sketches based on scenarios borrowed from Fluxus artists.
Elina Brotherus’ art is consistent and the corpus of her work extensive. Her series obey a logical flow and are complementary to each other in their formal and thematic differences or coherences.
Thus, by taking as a starting point for an image the character’s isolation and a bare setting, in a kind of minimalist performance, Elina Brotherus conceives a narrative space both delimited and fragile where interpretation remains open.