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Elena Helfrecht | Sisters II


Edition: 15 + 2 AP

Size: 30cm x 42cm 

Print Only (Please contact us if you would like to add a frame) 

Artist Statement

My photographic practice revolves around consciousness and its interactions with mental and material environments. I am interested in how inner space is informed and influenced, where it originates and how it can be made visible. Engaging in creative play becomes a direct connection between the internal and external realm. By acting out my own inner space, I relate individual experiences to the collective history and turn personal involvement into a shared understanding.

In employing a theory I call the Matrixial Camera, photography becomes a performative action and an extended form of procreation, equating the link between artist and artwork with the relationship between mother and child. The inner space is extended through the apparatus into the image: Thought and vision are injected into the womb of the camera, where a palpable reality is impregnated by light, coalescing into a two-dimensional image. A part of the self is severed and dissected, the reality in front of the lens sliced and silenced by the shutter, only to be revived by the gaze of the beholder.


Sisters II from the series Daughters, deals specifically with the common origin of every being: the womb.

The female body is treated as a symbol and ornament, representing and celebrating the essence of womanhood. Instead of defining a geographical provenance, the collective origin of every being is photographically located in the womb. With a focus on femininity, women are regarded as both mothers and daughters, connected through a circle of potential and creation, tracing back the female lineage to a mitochondrial Eve.

The camera itself functions as an extension of the female inner space and a metaphorical representation of the womb - a seed in the dark impregnated by light and thought - distending into the image and making it accessible to the viewer.

This work aligns woman with woman and being with being, independent from ancestry or birthplace, and celebrates the essential feminine element through an abstract gaze.


Elena Helfrecht (b. 1992, Germany) graduated in Art History and Book Science at Friedrich-Alexander-University, Erlangen, in 2014 and will complete her MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art, London, in 2019.

Through photography, she examines inner space, consciousness, and communication. Her images are created from multiple layers of meaning, characterized by a visceral iconography. She is influenced by the folklore of her childhood in Bavaria and her active and continuous passion for Art History and Psychology.

Elena’s work has been internationally shown, recent shows taking place in Arles, Berlin, London, Illinois, Łódź, and Amsterdam. Articles about her work have been published in THE OPÉRA: Magazine for Classic and Contemporary Nude Photography by Matthias Straub (presented at Paris Photo and C/O Berlin), as well as in magazines and blogs like Curated by Girls, The Royal Photographic Society, L’Oeil de la Photographie, or F-Stop Magazine.