ART PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION.
Elina Brotherus, born 1972 in Helsinki, is internationally known for her self-portraits. And the fact is that she herself may be seen in almost all of her photographic and video works. These include series resembling diaries, photographed landscapes and situational mood-pictures. The exhibition at the Weserburg directs attention to more recent works and groups of works created since 2016. Here the Finnish artist appropriates various contemporary concepts of art and integrates them into her own unmistakable aesthetic. She thereby follows Arthur Køpcke’s motto: ‘People ask: Why? I ask: Why not?’
A masterly lightness and an absurd humour give rise to surprising pictorial inventions with which Brotherus engages in a fresh exploration of the possibilities offered by photography. At the same time, she examines and updates concepts from earlier generations; among others, she uses Event Scores of the international Fluxus movement from the 1960s and 1970s. Or she draws inspiration from John Baldessari’s idiosyncratic ideas of art, he came up with for his students: ‘Disguise yourself as another object – a tree maybe. Or becoming a tree. A big bird?’
Her photographic works and videos are sometimes subtle homage, sometimes critical revision. Thus Brotherus reenacts an iconic image of Francesca Woodman, who died far too early. Together with Erwin Wurm, she herself becomes a sculpture without further ado. Or she creates a playful reinterpretation of Araki’s erotic bondage photographs which challenges their male-dominant viewpoint with an alternative perspective that is all her own.
Within the exhibition, a further focal point is the new series Sebaldiana. Memento mori, which was created in 2019 on Corsica. On the trail of the writer W.G. Sebald, Elina Brotherus visits various literary settings and thereby establishes a special connection between literature and art, between fictional material and artistic adaptation.
Why not? is the artist’s first solo exhibition in a German museum and consists of around forty photographic works and two videos. A catalogue (in German and English) is available with illustrations of all the works and essays which both continue and deepen the discourse.
Curated by Ingo Clauß.