Elina Brotherus

Why not?

25.10.2020 - 16.05.2021
Elina Brotherus, Portrait Series (Gelbe Musik with Sunflowers), 2016
Elina Brotherus, Portrait Series (Gelbe Musik with Sunflowers), 2016, from the series The Baldessari Assignments, Art´Us Collectors´Collective, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020
Elina Brotherus, Sebald
Elina Brotherus, Sebald's Hotel 4, 2019, from the series Sebaldiana. Memento mori, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020

Elina Brotherus (*1972 in Helsinki) is internationally known for her self-portraits. And the fact is that she herself may be seen in almost all of her photographic and video works. These include series resembling diaries, photographed landscapes and situational mood-pictures. The exhibition at the Weserburg directs attention to more recent works and groups of works created since 2016. Here the Finnish artist appropriates various contemporary concepts of art and integrates them into her own unmistakeable aesthetic. She thereby follows Arthur Køpcke’s motto: ‘People ask: Why? I ask: Why not?’

A masterly lightness and an absurd humour give rise to surprising pictorial inventions with which Brotherus engages in a fresh exploration of the possibilities offered by photography. At the same time, she examines and updates concepts from earlier generations; among others, she uses Event Scores of the international Fluxus movement from the 1960s and 1970s. Or she draws inspiration from John Baldessari’s idiosyncratic ideas of art, he came up with for his students: “Disguise yourself as another object – a tree maybe. Or becoming a tree. A big bird?”

Her photographic works and videos are sometimes subtle homage, sometimes critical revision. Thus Brotherus reenacts an iconic image of Francesca Woodman, who died far too early. Together with Erwin Wurm, she herself becomes a sculpture without further ado. Or she creates a playful reinterpretation of Araki’s erotic bondage photographs which challenges their male-dominant viewpoint with an alternative perspective that is all her own.

Within the exhibition, a further focal point is the new series Sebaldiana. Memento mori, which was created in 2019 on Corsica. On the trail of the writer W.G. Sebald, Elina Brotherus visits various literary settings and thereby establishes a special connection between literature and art, between fictional material and artistic adaptation.

Why not? is the artist’s first solo exhibition in a German museum and consists of around forty photographic works and two videos. A catalogue is appearing with illustrations of all the works and essays which both continue and deepen the discourse.

Curated by Ingo Clauß


Exhibition on floor 3

With generous support
Media Partner

Participating Collections

With loans from Art´Us Collectors´Collective, Miettinen Collection, AKO Kunststiftelse/The Tangen Collection and Elina Brotherus.

Exhibition catalog

The opening will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalog with additional essays published by Hirmer Verlag:

Elina Brotherus. Why not?

Ed. Ingo Clauß for the Weserburg Museum für moderne Kunst
With contributions from Guido Boulboullé, Ingo Clauß, Janneke de Vries

160 pages, 104 illustrations
22.5 × 30 cm, bound with ribbon.
30 Euro

ISBN 978-3-7774-3684-5

New Edition

Elina Brotherus, Stool, 2016, Nach George Brecht: Stool (on or near a stool), aus: Water-Yam, 1963 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020

Elina Brotherus, Stool, 2016/2020

After George Brecht: Stool (on or near a stool), from: Water-Yam, 1963
Pigment ink print on Museo Silver Rag paper
Signed and framed (wood, white)

40 x 28 cm (paper size)
35 x 23,3 cm (image size)

Edition: 15 + 5 AP

Special offer until March 21, 2021
Price: 900 Euro
Price Museumsfreunde: 850 Euro

From March 22, 2021
Price: 1000 Euro
Price Museumsfreunde: 950 Euro

Order now

Video program: Elina Brotherus

Elina Brotherus, Running Past Camera — Running Toward Camera, 2017 (Videostill)

Every sunday, 11-18 h, museum entrance

The Finnish artist Elina Brotherus is best known for her photographic oeuvre. Important video works were created at an early stage, most recently in larger numbers as independent works, but also to complement the new photo series. Here Brotherus combines intellectual sharpness with humorous lightness, technical precision with lustful spontaneity. The approximately one-hour program can be viewed continuously in the Weserburg Library. It includes video works from 2001 until today.

A maximum of 6 people can be in the room at any one time. Registration is not required.

The next dates

Sunday, October 25, 2020, 11am-2:30pm  and 4:30-6pm
Sunday, November 1, 2020, 11am-6pm
Sunday, November 8, 2020, 11am-6pm
Sunday, November 15, 2020, 11am-6pm
Sunday, November 22, 2020, 11am-6pm
Sunday, November 29, 2020, 11am-6pm

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)