Six questions for
Elena Helfrecht

Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Elena Helfrecht.

Artist Elena Helfrecht
Lives in Germany

How do you describe your own art practice?

Photography allows me to merge the real and the imagined, creating a new dimension and distilling a greater essence from personal experiences. Art, for me, primarily serves as a means to come to terms with the questions that have troubled me from an early age and to share my findings. I consider the work I create as an extension of my inner psychological space, which can then be accessed by the viewer, and equally as the result of a mental process of creation.

I strongly identify with how Ursula K. Leguin describes the process of writing fiction in the foreword of The Left Hand of Darkness: “Fiction writers, at least in their braver moments, do desire the truth: to know it, speak it, serve it. But they go about it in a peculiar and devious way, which consists in inventing persons, places, and events which never did and will never exist or occur, and telling about these fictions in detail and at length and with a great deal of emotion, and then when they are done writing down this pack of lies, they say, There! That’s the truth!”

Which question or theme is central in your work?

Essentially, I am interested in the how and why – how our consciousness is formed and influenced, why we are here and do what we do, and where we go. Themes that currently pique my interest are, for example, intergenerational trauma, mortality and how we deal with it, as well as generational transition, myths, legends and the supernatural.

What was your first experience with art?

I grew up in the countryside, surrounded by forests, so I would consider nature my first encounter with art. My mom has a very keen eye and constantly observes her surroundings, seeing faces, shapes, and creatures in branches and stones. To me, nature is the greatest of all artists. Apart from that, my great-grandfather was a sculptor, and I encountered his beautiful works in my grandmother’s house from as early on as I can remember.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

I am not sure if I can determine the ‘greatest source of inspiration’ that easily, as most often many things come together. Surely my everyday life, conversations with friends and family or walks outside are very inspiring. Art History, which I studied in my BA, is also a great source, as well as literature.

What do you need in order to create your work?

Time and no pressure in any way. I work best if I can roam freely, if my mind can wander. Conversations with people dear to me are equally important.

What work or artist has most recently surprised you?

Camilla Grudova‘s ‘The Coiled Serpent’. Absolutely brilliant!

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