The works of Elina Brotherus essentially consist of self-portraits and landscapes. She developed both themes since the beginning of her career, and particularly when she was in residence at the Nicéphore Niépce Museum.
The Museum was actually the first institution that helped her gain recognition in France from 1999. Her early photographs show the influence of emotions brought by events that occurred in her personal life, or by her contemplation of nature. Her recent series The New Painting (2000-2004) nevertheless shows a new evolution: the artist altogether gives up personal narration and chooses to deal with the purely visual and formal qualities of images.
The series entitled The New Painting distances itself from the autobiographical representation of the artist. The young woman who stares so directly at the objective has become an adult, free to turn her back on the camera and on the viewer. The model remains the same herself but the object of the artistic expression has changed. What really counts is not the representation of the models inner world, but something more general, more universal. The human figure has become a sign, and the artist studies the place of this sign in the image.
In this new series, Elina Brotherus introduces paintings in her photographic compositions. Their reflections in the photographs produce a feeling of familiarity, of déjà vu. The references here are very clear: representations of nude Venus, XVII th century genre paintings, idealistic landscapes by Claude Lorrain, bathers by Paul Cézanne, bathrooms by Pierre Bonnard or the sweet colours of Mark Rothkos paintings all these elements are quietly perceived, as whispers would be.