Elina Brotherus − The Role of the Model

In the FOTOHOF archive: Christian Wachter - EUROPE

Opens at November 24, 7.30 pm
Exhibition run: November 25 2016 − January 21 2017

Elina Brotherus - "Salle à manger". from the series "Les femmes de la maison carré" (2015) Pigment Ink Print, 70 x 104 cm / 90 x 135 cm Courtesy of the artist and gb agency, Paris
The twenty-year retrospective curated by Gilles Mora for the Pavillon Populaire in Montpellier features the photographic and cinematic work of Finnish artist Elina Brotherus, now also to be shown in Austria for the first time.
The exhibition focuses on the role of the model in the artist’s work; after its run at Fotohof, it is scheduled to go on show at the Turku Art Museum. In 1840 the mysterious self-portrait of the (co-)inventor of photography, Hippolyte Bayard, had caused widespread wonderment and consternation. The staged photograph of himself as a drowned man was designed to convey the pain and anguish he had felt at the lack of recognition for his groundbreaking achievements. It was also the first instance of a photographer seizing the opportunity to slip into the role of model.
This interplay is also a central theme in the work of Elina Brotherus (along with her interest in landscapes), and it expressed itself early on in her creative output as psychological self-portrayals. As with Claude Cahun before her and perhaps also Cindy Sherman, the self-staging is to be seen here not just as part of a reflection on one’s own sense of self between catharsis and play, but also more generally as a reference to the visual arts.
Continually working on the image and an autonomous appearance within that image affords the artist the freedom to confide in intimate moments with the viewer in a sort of soliloquy, albeit in encrypted form; and, as an ally, the viewer is then able to join her as she embarks on her wanderings and travels around the world.
Elina Brotherus, *1972 in Helsinki, studied at the University of Art and Design Helsinki. Lives and works in Helsinki, Finland and Avallon, France.

In the FOTOHOF archive:
Christian Wachter:
EUROPE. rêvée, revue, revisited

Christian Wachter - Europe. Chapter Four, Place Gambetta.
Gelatine silver print on Baryte paper, embossed stamp, 50 x 60 cm

In 1992, right after the signing of the Maastricht Treaty and the promulgation of the rules and regulations for the new political union, Austrian fine art photographer Christian Wachter set off in search of the ideas and ideals on which this new Europe would be built. He was influenced in his quest by central European thinkers such as Jacques Rancière, Ferdinand de Saussure and Walter Benjamin.

In the urban layouts and architecture of Parisian squares (but also in Vienna and Italy) he found 'signs' (which according to de Saussure not only re-produce reality, but also actively produce it) for that which has been and that which will come, 'as if looking at the present and the near future from the distant past'.
This series, which Christian Wachter rediscovered, as it were, in his own archive in 2013, features twelve chapters comprising large baryta-coated analogue prints. They have been expanded with historical typefaces to 'achieve a formal anachronism and a structural "dissensus" (Jacques Rancière) in the relationships between the images and the captions'.

It is 'by no means an encyclopaedic-documentary-systematic-topographical description of "Europe". Rather, an idiosyncratic, not to say "heretic", historiography, European IMAGI-NATIONS, as it were'.

Christian Wachter, born in Oberwart, Austria, in 1949, lives and works in Vienna.



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