Elina Brotherus

born in Helsinki in 1972 spending much of her time in Paris. She was trained in analytic chemistry before she decided to take up photography. Her early works, rooted in the documentary tradition, involved self-portraiture but more recently her interests have been dominated by formal concerns. Her practice continues to focus on the human body and landscape. While her works provoke conceptual questions, the artist insists that her interests are primarily visual. In her ongoing series, ‘The New Painting,’ Brotherus uses a camera to investigate the dilemmas that have challenged painters for centuries. The early works of Elina Brotherus mainly involve self-portraiture but as her practice has evolved, it has become almost devoid of all autobiographical elements. Still studying analytical chemistry when she decided to take up photography, Brotherus was at first resistant to the idea of investigating her own emotional life. On completing her science degree, however, once freed from the rigours of the scientific thinking, she experienced ‘a tremendous burst of creativity’, which resulted in a series of self-portraits, ‘Das Mädchen sprach von Liebe’ conceived between 1997 and 1999.

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