Elina Brotherus is the most reputed artist from the influential Helsinki School of Photography, and probably the most important mid-career female photographer in Europe. Her work has been alternating between autobiographical and art-historical approaches. Photographs dealing with the human figure and the landscape, the relation of the artist and the model, gave way to images on subjective experiences lately. In her current work she is revisiting Fluxus event scores and other written instructions for performance-oriented art of the 1950s-70s.
In this project, we made a cross selection of artworks both iconic and newer ones in Elina’s corpus of work. Many of the resultant pieces relate to the identity and role of the artist and to the position of women in a -still- male dominated art world. Elina’s work aligns with a broader demand for equality but also with the courage and necessity to find one’s own personal voice.
In these images Elina investigates how artists see their role in the world and how they shape their own public image. In particular, the images reference “The Mirror and the Lamp” (1953), a seminal book by M. H. Abrams, who argued that until the end of the 18th century, art was understood as a mirror that reflects reality, whereas in the romantic era, imitation was replaced by a focus on expression. This was the period that gave rise to the idea of the artist as a genius who is like a lamp that illuminates the world or a fountain that spouts ideas.
While containing a wealth of references to art history and literature, the images are also intimately linked to the personal and shared experiences of the artist. In the works to be shown, woman occupies the dual role of creator and object of the gaze.
Curated by Juan Curto.
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Activity funded by the Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte of Spain. Powered by Patricia Ezpeleta.