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Modern Times and New Forms of Art – Elina Brotherus

by Leila
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The opening night for the latest exhibition at the Wapping Project Bankside was extremely rich in emotions and experiences. Indeed, expecting to gaze through a selection of photographs by renowned Finnish artist Elina Brotherus, we found ourselves immersed into a three dimensional set-up of several selected short movies of various themes and lengths.

Stills from Lauri Astala, Elina Brotherus and Hanna Brotherus: My Happiness is Round, 2007, 8min52sec, HD video (1080i50), 16:9, stereo sound.

The Wapping Project Bankside Gallery is hosting until the 23rd of October 2010, an exhibition of some of Elina Brotherus’s works. She is famous for her upcoming works using media such as film, video and HD, as well as photography. Born in Helsinki in 1972, raised in a family of artists, and a passionate individual when it comes to French art and painting, she has spent her life between France and Finland, giving thought and content to her art, in first instance, through the presence and absence of love, as she was going through a self-analysis phase of her life, and later through the relationship between the human figure and the landscape.

Amongst the works that were on display at the gallery, were the two triptych short movies, “Les baigneurs” (2001, 2003) and “Spring” (2001)with which she has gained fame over the last years, as well as one of her original work s “Lesson” dating back to 1998. “Many of these films are meant as a means to contemplate the world. They aren’t documentaries, they aren’t films. They are here to make you look at a scene through the eyes of an artist. They are here to convey a message, a though, an observation”, she said. On display as well, were more recent films belonging to the “Time Series” where people or scenes are filmed over a certain lapse of time without the camera or the landscape moving. A very interesting experience that caught us of guard in many instances. Initially looking at an image thinking it was a photograph, only to realize within a couple of minutes that it is actually a moving picture on a screen.  The “Model studies“ were particularly surprising in that perspective. When asked about the later, she said:” It was my need for, and my desire for slowness that I was trying to convey. Coming from a big country with very large surfaces and distances, I grew up used to loneliness and solitude. Moving to France was very hard, as its cities were very noisy, with very confined spaces and a very busy lifestyle.”

Elina Brotherus: Model Study 6, 2004, 105x85cm, from the series Model Studies. Chromogenic color print on Fuji Crystal Archive paper, mounted on anodised aluminium, framed.

Some of her movies were silent; others had music composed especially for them. Some of her models were dressed; however most of them were nude. Using herself as one of the models in many of the short films, nude, she has dissociated herself from her body as a means to bring about the basic concept of the human body to her audience. “I believe clothes bring additional value and information to the photographs or the images. They are an indication of style, epoque, and social status. I didn’t want them to interfere with the message I wanted to convey, that’s why I chose to eliminate them. I wanted to represent the essence of the human body. Nothing else.” she said during the conversation she had later that evening with Sacha Craddock, the curator for Sadlers Wells and co-curator for Bloomberg Space.

When asked if she was happy with the stage she had reached in the art world, she added she would like to be exhibiting alongside the artist Arno Rafael Mihkkinen. She feels that would help her attain the apex of happiness and satisfaction.

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