Elina Brotherus, Wind Music, 2017
Gösta Serlachius Fine Art Foundation’s collection of contemporary art comprises close to 50 video artworks. In year 2019, the collection grew notably as 15 video works were acquired of Elina Brotherus from her exhibition playground / leikkikenttä exhibited at Museum Gustaf.
Elina Brotherus (b. 1972) is best known for her autobiographical portraits. Brotherus attracted broad attention late 1990s and is currently one of Finland’s internationally most acclaimed artists. Beside photography, she also works in the field of moving images.
Brotherus’s has worked on sequences of images. She may work on one particular sequence even as long as four or five years until it is time to change into something new. Some works have been created within a shorter period of time such as the works from the series Régle du jeu exhibited in playground / leikkikenttä, which the artist realised in just four months. The process of making these photographs and videos was an intensive but productive time period for Brotherus.
The works from the sequence Règle du jeu found their inspiration from the event scores invented by the Fluxus artist group established in the 1960s. The idea behind the event scores is based on written instruction that each person can interpret the way they want. The instructions are available for use for whoever and wherever. Thus, everybody is allowed to make art. Alongside the pre-existing event scores, Brotherus invented her own by using excerpts from poems of Finnish poet Tuomas Timonen. This series of works opened Elina Brotherus an opportunity to create something new. She adopted the role of a performer rather than that of a model. In the sequence, Brotherus presents herself together with dancer Vera Nevanlinna.
The video work Wind Music (2017) is carried out after Japanese artist Mieko Shiomi’s (b. 1938) event score from year 1963: “Wind Music, Fluxversion I, Scores are blown away from stands by wind from a strong fan in the wings as the orchestra tries to hold them.”
Elina Brotherus adopts a humoristic approach to her directions. On the video, a musician blowing a birch-bark horn tries to play a music piece according to her sheet music, but her playing is several times interrupted when the person with her leaf blower attempts to interfere with the performance by blowing the scores away from the stand. Once and again, the musician patiently picks up the scores back onto the stand. The other stands holding her leaf blower as if combat-ready, prepared to attack again when the opportunity arises.
On the internet, you can find a different author’s video inspired by the same event score, in which the setup is equally ridiculous, and one cannot help smiling at it. This proves that the event scores are still in use, which was also the artist’s wish.
The series Règle du jeu presents Brotherus in a new light. The videos are not merely documentation of performances but highly tuned with professional skill. Composition of the image is pre-meditated, and the end result is elegant. The art pieces are insightful and fun to watch one after the other. One can imagine that creating them has been equally fun and liberating; like playing around.
The video is on show in its entirety on artist’s website.