As art is the only area in which adults are allowed to have fun today, she does not deprive herself of it. In any case, this is how the Finnish artist who has been practicing staged self-portraits for a quarter of a century, usually alone, but sometimes accompanied by her dog or, more recently by accomplices, presents her approach. She builds everything with a beautiful distance that in no way prevents a poetic vision, among others in the landscapes of her Scandinavia native or her adopted Burgundy. The landscape, in the different seasons, becomes a setting with ample breathing, a landscape echoing romantic painting – and painting in general, which Elina has a great knowledge of, for a free body, alternately naked or dressed in colors that dialogue with those of nature. A painting that she reinterprets by playing, with reference to great moments in history and echoing the contemporary, going from the workshop and its reinvented models to the situation of her body, at the limit of balance , in unexpected places such as the construction site of the La Samaritaine department stores, exhibited here for the first time. A scholarly colorist, she has this rare ability, in the middle of her career and always with this mixture of seriousness and fantasy, of distance and smile, reflect on what she’s done and recompose a recent past that she transforms for the series 12 years later. The Animated Image, a series of fables that are never edifying, is one more opportunity to play. To play with space, to build it and make it exist by becoming an illusionist and a magician. Practical work, crafts, dreams and entertainment articulate a work whose deep coherence never takes away the essential lightness. It’s rare, if not unique today.
Christian Caujolle (exhibition curator), August 2020
Elina Brotherus was born in Helsinki in 1972 and shares her life and work between Finland and France. With photography and more recently video, Elina Brotherus explores the emotional landscape, the feelings of the individual and tries to determine how this one becomes part of the whole formed by the others. With a deliberately structured language, she works on her own person from the events of her life. Although her self-portraits dominate her work, she never interprets roles and does not create staging; her landscapes reveal just as much the nature of her feelings. In her series The New Painting, Elina Brotherus questions both the aesthetic codes of painting and the notion of Beauty and goes to the fore questions on reality and its representation.
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Elina Brotherus : This Is The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life
September 22 – November 29, 2020
La Filature, Scène Nationale de Mulhouse
20 allée Nathan Katz