Elina Brotherus: Suites françaises


©Elina Brotherus 

Elina Brotherus a Finnish artist born in Helsinki in 1972.  Brotherus spends her time between Finland and France.  She used self-portraiture in her series to mark moments of her life.  Her series “Suite Françaises 1” and “Suite Françaises 2” explore migration and her own reflection and experience as an outsider.  She came to France and was faced with the language obstacle and this is when the series Suites françaises was created.  She would put post-it notes on objects and things with the French name for them as a way to learn the language.

“Language is a way of creating order out of chaos. We give names to objects, classify and categorize things, analyse phenomena. Language makes thinking possible” – Elina Brotherus.

Brotherus started her series when she was 27 years old then returned to the same place (where she did the series) for a workshop job at the age of 40 and revisited the series photographically.  Her first approach in series “Suite Française 1” was abstract, she captured deserted landscapes which she likes to refer to as commas or breathing spaces.

In her revisited series “Suite Française 2” she was not an outsider anymore and France became her second home.  She explains that she was not lost like she was at the age of 27, she knew what she wants and was able to explore the classical themes of photography.  Her work includes portraiture, landscape, still life, interiors and the study of human figure.

The series works as a mirror to her own experience and self identity but at the same time it is a window to all those who had experienced the same problem with migration and language barrier.

Her talk to the OCA can be found here.

Bibliography / References:

Boothroyd Sharon (2013).  Elina Brotherus Interview [online].  Photoparley.  Available from:  https://photoparley.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/elina-brotherus/  [Accessed 27 November, 2016].

Brotherus, Elina (2015).  Elina Brotherus Talk from open College of the Arts [online].  Available from:  http://www.oca-student.com/content/photographers-talking?page=1#comment-72335  [Accessed 27 November, 2016].

Brotherus, Elina.  Elina Brotherus Official Website [online].  Available from:  http://www.elinabrotherus.com [Accessed 28 November, 2016]

Lacavalla Rosa (2014).  Elina Brotherus  [online]. Available from: https://lacavallarosa.wordpress.com/tag/elina-brotherus/ [Accessed 28 November, 2016].

Yeh, Diana (2005).  Elina Brotherus [online].  Culturebase.net.  Available from:  http://www.culturebase.net/artist.php?735. [Accessed 28 November, 2016].


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