Operating by the feminist credo ‘the personal is (also) the political’, Brotherus both critiques and admires past eras. Consequently, her work becomes a continuation and modulation of previous avantgarde movements such as Fluxus and Dada. This is evident in the exhibition’s title work from 2019 which references Asger Jorn’s disfiguration from 1962 in which he painted a moustache on an existing painting of a little girl. The work by Jorn was itself a reference to a well-known Marcel Duchamp work from 1919 where a postcard of Mona Lisa was equipped with a beard.
Acknowledging the importance of these movements in art, Brotherus takes the avantgarde into a new era, through renewed gender roles in which women are not mere objects of desire, but rather subjects of unambiguous agency, skill and ability. Her exchange with theavantgarde is done with an undeniable sense of humor and poignancy, transforming and adding meaning in one sweeping motion. By treating it this way, combining strong visual images, underlying texts and subtle performative elements, Brotherus not only comments on the history of avantgarde; she inscribes herself in it, making self-portraiture a collective and political practice.
Elina Brotherus was born in 1972, Helsinki, Finland. Lives and works between France and Finland. She has exhibited all over the world, with notable solo exhibitions at Centre Pompidou, Paris; The National Art Center, Tokyo; Museum Hundertwasser, Vienna; Weserburg Museum für Moderne Kunst, Bremen (opening 25/10/20). Represented in numerous prominent collections, such as Saatchi Collection, London; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk; Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo(MAXXI), Rome; Moderna Museet, Stockholm
Realized with support from the Institute of Finnish Culture in Denmark.