The Avantgarde doesn’t give up
Martin Asbæk Gallery is pleased to present “The Avantgarde doesn’t give up” by the Finnish artist Elina Brotherus. The solo exhibition is her fourth in the gallery and it consists of works in which Brotherus interprets a range of avantgardistic texts through photographs and video works. 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.