Carpe Fucking Diem
15/11/17 - 14/01/18

Closed from 24th Decembre 17 to 2nd January 18 incl.

Courtesy gb agency, Paris.

Fr | NL


© Elina Brotherus, Dead Fox, 2014, 60 x 90 cm. Courtesy gb agency. Paris.

Elina Brotherus’s films and photographs are essentially landscapes and self-portraits. Her subjects bear witness to purely formal research which make references to historical art compositions, while, at the same time, questioning human existence.

For, deep down, Elina Brotherus has always been telling us the story of her life, with its highs and lows, its wonders and its disappointments. In every case, what amazes and moves us is her simple presence, her obvious way of casting a benevolent and luminous eye on things.

Previously, in her series Landscapes and Escapes (1998-1999), Elina Brotherus had examined the human desire to own territory by exploring the relationship between individuals and their environments: “I don’t need to be in the photos. However, the series is about how we present ourselves through our environments, and how we reflect them through ourselves.”

The exhibition Carpe Fucking Diem again takes up the theme of the human figure in nature, but this time, the sentiment that emerges is ambivalent. The title seems contradictory: the allusion to Epicurean philosophy, that encourages us to savour the present as part of the idea that the future is uncertain and that all is destined to disappear, appears frustrating. (…)

A photograph taken with a timer, holding her dog in one hand and giving us the finger with the other. Of course, she is giving the finger to her unfulfilled desire to have a child and to that very sad period in her life. But she is also giving the finger to death and to all those constraints and roles that Society imposes on us…

In all her work, the photographer shows us great skill in her use of light: she always uses natural light: “I think that the world is so interesting already, so I see no need to add something artificial. I choose to frame my shots with existing things.”

In her recent videos, a selection of which are included in this exhibition, Elina Brotherus uses the instructions given by the artists of the Fluxus movement. For example, Mirror Piece (2015) and Event for Midnight (2015) are both based on the writings of a Japanese artist, Shiomi Mieko. The enactment of these small, solitary actions, by night as by day, explore our place in a vast, complex universe. Simple gestures are replayed and re-framed to find in them an almost unreal or surreal echo.
The images seem to follow each other like a story that is both dreamlike and sad. The banal becomes strange and the familiar almost threatening.

The exhibition is accompanied by the book Carpe Fucking Diem, published in 2015 by the German publisher Kehrer Verlag.

Elina Brotherus Website

This text is made up of the following extracts:
(1) Nathalie Boutin’s introduction to the exhibition “Carpe Fucking Diem” at the g&b agency, Paris, 2015.
(2) Patrick Scemama’s “La République de l’art” at http://larepubliquedelart.com/la-douceur-et-le-monde-de-brutes/, 17/11/2015.
(3) Clémentine Mercier’s “Elina Brotherus: Embroideries on herself” in: (French daily newspaper) Libération, 7 August 2016, a review of her exhibition “The Light from the North 1997-2015” at the Pavillon populaire, Montpellier.
(4) Brigitte Patient’s interview of Elina Brotherus, with comments by Gilles Mora, broadcast in the radio programme Regardez voir on France-Inter, 11 September 2016.


Elina Brotherus, Carpe Fucking Diem
Elina Brotherus, «Carpe Fucking Diem»,
Kehrer Verlag Publisher, Heidelberg-Berlin, 2015.
Size: 27,5 x 20,5 cm, hardcover, 156 pages, 104 color illustrations.
Design: Teun van der Heijden.
ISBN 978-3-86828-626-7
Price: 50 €