Elina Brotherus

Ars Fennica candidate 2007

Elina Brotherus’ early works (1997-99) are carefully constructed self-portraits that deal with difficult moments in a human relationship or with the ending of a relationship. In the pictures the model is naked or in tears; with the black remote-release cord reminding us that this sad or anxious figure is the artist herself.

The works are stills from the flow of life, universal in spite of their personal nature, since Brotherus believes in the basic similarity of people. “Cross-sections taken from my own life can be recognisable to others, too,” she says.

The much-exhibited series The New Painting (2000-04) prompted Brotherus to think about her relationship with painting, its history and the way it constructs meanings. The autobiographical quality gives way to a deliberate visuality, to an accentuation of light, colour and composition in painting, in works that are to varying degrees referential, in which the artist no longer represents herself. She is a “figure in space”.

In the series of photograph and video works, Model Studies(2004-), currently being worked on, Brotherus digs deeper down to the wellsprings of visual art and, for the first time, also works with professional models. Emerging into the centre of the picture is European visual art in all its breadth, starting from the academic traditions that also include croquis drawings done at art schools.

At the same time, the length of the ‘decisive moment’ so beloved of photography can be seen to grow from a fraction of a second to minutes, hours or – theoretically – even centuries.

Timo Valjakka

Born 1972 in Helsinki
Lives and works in Finland and France


2000 Master of Arts (Photography), University of Art and Design Helsinki (UIAH)
1997 Master of Science (Analytical Chemistry), University of Helsinki


Model Studies, Musée des Beaux-arts, Caen, France
Galerie Wilma Tolksdorf, Berlin
The New Painting
Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki
Millesgården, Stockholm
Temple Bar Gallery & Studios, Dublin
Bieler Fototage, Biel, Switzerland /Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône, France
Centre pour l’image contemporaine, Genève, Switzerland
Oldenburg Kunstverein (-2007) – publication

Galerie Wilma Tolksdorf, Frankfurt/M., Germany
Contemporary Art Centre Tinglado, Tarragona, Spain – publication
FRAC Haute-Normandie, Rouen, France
Model Studies, &: gb agency, Paris

Galleri Stefan Andersson, Umeå, Sweden
The New Painting, Mai Manó, Hungarian Photography Center, Budapest
Brotherus, tyttö, Photography Gallery Hippolyte, Helsinki
Fotografisk Center, Copenhagen
The New Painting, Chateau d’eau, Toulouse, France – publication
Baigneurs, The Wapping Project, London

Kunsthalle Lophem, Belgium
Cassina Art Project, Tokyo, in Blue Horizon – publication
The New Painting
Pärnu uue kunsti muuseum, Pärnu
Draakoni Galerii, Tallinn
The New Painting, Espace Photographique Contretype, Brussels – publication

Real Jardin Botánico, Madrid, in PhotoEspaña – publication
Encontros da imagem, Braga, Spain – publication
INOVA (Institute of Visual Arts), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Hämeenlinna Art Museum
Västerås Konstmuseum, Sweden
Lunds Konsthall, Sweden
Orchard Gallery, Derry, Northern Ireland

Spring, The Wapping Project, London – publication
Suites Françaises 2, &: gb agency, Paris – publication
The New Painting, Galleri Stefan Andersson, Umeå, Sweden

Suites Françaises 1, Galerie Anhava, Helsinki – publication
i8, Reykjavik – publication

Northern Photography Centre, Oulu
Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki

Galleri Stefan Andersson, Umeå, Sweden – publication
Galerie Anhava, Helsinki, with Andrei Lajunen


Dreamlands Burn, Mücsarnok Kunsthalle, Budapest – publication
Ars Fennica 2007 Candidates, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki
Art, Life & Confusion, Belgrade Biennial – publication
Dimensions intérieures, Le Botanique, Brussels – publication
Intersection – between past and future, Pori Art Museum
Biennale of Sydney – publication
Absolutely Private, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography – publication
Clarities, Kópavogur Art Museum, Gerdarsafn, Reykjavík, together with Rúri and Thor Vigfusson
Galleria Heino, Helsinki, together with Sirpa Päivinen and Anu Suhonen

Kunsthalle Fridericanum, Kassel, Germany
Nikolaj, Copenhagen
National Museum of Bucharest (-2007) – publication
Tampere Museum of Contemporary Art, TR1
Under your skin, White Box, New York, USA
Theorema, collection Lambert, Avignon

Nordic Art, MKM Museum Küppersmühle, Duisburg, Germany – publication
PHOTOfesta, Maputo, Mosambique
Lofoten International Art Festival (LIAF 04), Svolvær, Norway – publication
The Helsinki School
Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki
Kulturhuset, Stockholm
Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (-2005) – publication
France – Terre d’Accueil, New Gallery, Jerusalem – publication
Je t’envisage, la disparition du portrait, Museé de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland

Carnegie Art Award 2003
Royal Swedish Academy of Arts, Stockholm
Kópavogur Art Museum, Reykjavík
Kunsternes Hus, Oslo
Charlottenborg, Copenhagen
Victoria Miro Warehouse, London
Kunsthalle Helsinki (-2005) – publication
Girls’ Night Out (USA)
Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach CA
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover MA
Aspen Art Museum, Aspen CO
Contemporary Art Museum, Saint Louis MI
Blaffer Gallery, Houston TX (-2006) – publication
GOKANN, IV Trienniale of Finnish Art, Gallery Fleur, Kyoto, Japan
Kunsthalle Helsinki (-2004) – publication
Fables de l’identité, Centre national de la photographie, Paris – publication
Transparente, Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome – publication
Zeitgenössische Fotokunst aus Finnland
Neue Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin
Mannheimer Kunstverein, Mannheim, Germany
Städtische Galerie, Waldkreiburg, Germany
Stadtgalerie Kiel, Germany
Brandenburgische Kunstsammlung, Cottbus, Germany
Centrum Kultury ZAMEK, Poznan, Poland
Salo Art Museum (-2004) – publication
New Realities, Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg, Sweden

Face/Off, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge – publication
Carnegie Art Award 2002
Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik
Kunsternes Hus, Oslo
Kunstforeningen, Copenhagen
Victoria Miro Warehouse, London
Helsinki City Art Museum, Helsinki
Röda Sten, Gothenburg, Sweden (-2003) – publication
Uusia kuvia, Brotherus Kella Kolehmainen Lajunen Parantainen, Helsinki City Art Museum
Valokuva ja video, Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere – publication
Platform of Encounters, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius – publication
Beyond Paradise
National Gallery, Bangkok
National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Shanghai Art Museum, China – publication
Citigroup Private Bank Photography Prize 2002, The Photographers’ Gallery, London – publication

Silence in the City, Gwangju City Art Museum, South Korea – publication
ARS 01, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki – publication
Théâtres du Fantastique, Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse, France – publication
Magnetic North, The New Art Gallery Walsall, Walsall, Great Britain – publication
Confidences, Casino Forum d’Art Contemporain, Luxembourg – publication
Fotofinlandia 2000 Award, Cable Factory, Helsinki

Quinze en Europe, Septembre de la Photo, Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, Nice, France – publication
Waterfront, Kulturbro 2000, Helsingborg, Helsingør, Sweden/Denmark – publication
Norden/North, Kunsthalle Wien – publication

Tila – Espaces, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris
The Passion and the Wave, The 6th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul – publication
Identité fictive, Contretype, Brussels – publication
Finnish line: Starting point, Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg – publication


Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki
Amos Anderson Art Museum, Helsinki
Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki
Tampere City Art Museum
Hämeenlinna Art Museum
Oulu Art Museum
Finnish State Art Collection
Saastamoinen Foundation
SOK Art Collection, Helsinki
In Sweden:
Moderna Museet, Stockholm
Gothenburg Art Museum, Gothenburg
Malmö Art Museum
Konstcentrum, Gävle
Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg
Västerås Art Museum
Swedish State Art Council
County Councils of Gävleborg, Halland, Jönköping, Skåne, Uppsala and Västerbotten
City of Lund
Umeå municipality
Apotekets Kulturförening, Stockholm
In France:
Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg
Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône
City of Nice
Centre National des Arts Plastiques (CNAP)
FRAC Alsace, Selestat
FRAC Haute-Normandie, Rouen
Collection Lambert, Avignon
NSM Vie, Paris

Museo da Imagem, Braga, Portugal
Mestizo, Murcia, Spain
ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj, Denmark
Corcoran Gallery, Washington
Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome
Saatchi Collection, Great Britain
DZ Bank, Germany


2005   Prix Niépce, Gens d’images, France
2003   Carnegie Art Award 2004, Young Artist’s Scolarship
2002   Citigroup Private Bank Photography Prize 2002, shortlist
2001   Prix Mosaïque, Centre National de l’Audiovisuel, Luxembourg
2000   Fotofinlandia Award


Elina Brotherus: The New Painting. Text: Susanna Pettersson, Andrea Holzherr, interview: Sheyi Antony Bankale with Elina Brotherus. Next Level, London 2005. Distributed by Thames & Hudson.
Decisive Days, valokuvia–photographies–photographs 1997–2001. Interview: Jan Kaila with Elina Brotherus. Kustannus Pohjoinen, Oulu 2002.


Elina Brotherus. Text: Susanna Pettersson. Tinglado2, Tarragona 2005
The New Painting. Text: Evelyne Biver, Elina Brotherus. Carnets de Résidences #2, Editions Contretype, Brussels 2004
The New Painting. Text: Paolo Colombo. Chateau d’eau, Toulouse 2004
Baigneurs, 2001-2003. Text: Hannele Rantala. FRAME, Helsinki 2003
Spring. Text: Sophie Howarth, Jane Rendell. The Wapping Project, London 2001.
Suites Françaises 2. Text: Andrea Holzherr, Val Williams. &: gb agency, Paris 2001.
Elina Brotherus. Text: Caryn Faure Walker, Elina Brotherus. i8 Galleri, Reykjavík
Galerie Anhava, Helsinki, Reykjavík 2000
Elina Brotherus. Text: Yrjänä Levanto, Elina Brotherus. Galleri Stefan Andersson, Umeå 1998