Elina Brotherus

Photo: Paavo Lehtonen for Collectors Agenda

”Art follows life. As an art student in the 1990s, I used my personal experiences as the starting point for my work. I put an end to my previous (science) studies as well as my first marriage. This sudden liberation became visible in my images. After moving abroad I became interested in the iconography and the methods of expression in painting. I continued to use myself as model, but now I was an image-maker instead of an autobiographer. As I approached forty, autobiography crept back in through the back door. It wasn’t planned, but nor did I refuse it, for my strategy as an artist is to accept the images that need to happen. Since I have no children, I am always the youngest in the family. That allows for playfulness and freedom, qualities that I appreciate more and more as I get older. I don’t have to represent the traditional way of being a woman. I can give a middle finger to the norm.” (Elina Brotherus, 2022)

Elina Brotherus
 (b.1972) works since more than twenty years in photography and moving image. Her work has been alternating between autobiographical and art-historical approaches. Her early works on subjective experiences gave way to photographs dealing with the human figure and the landscape, the relation of the artist and the model. In her current work she is revisiting Fluxus event scores and other written instructions for performance-oriented art of the 1950s-70s. Another big theme in her current practice is architecture. Brotherus photographs in private houses designed by important architects, taking roles of various imagined characters and bringing a tranquil human presence to these iconic spaces of architectural heritage. Elina Brotherus lives and works in Helsinki, Finland and Avallon, France. She has an MA degree in Photography from the University of Art and Design Helsinki (now Aalto University) and an MSc in Chemistry from the University of Helsinki. She started exhibiting internationally in 1997.Her works are in nearly 80 public collections including the Pompidou Centre, Paris, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, and Moderna Museet, Stockholm, to name a few, and she has published 13 monographs. Brotherus has been awarded, among others, Carte blanche PMU, France, in 2017, the Finnish State Prize for Photography in 2008, and the Prix Niépce in 2005.

Elina Brotherus will have her first solo exhibition – 'Spaces and Places' – at Helsinki Contemporary starting on March 31.