As the saying goes, “the eyes are windows to the soul,” and Elizaveta Porodina’s images might be the mirror of her unconscious. The imagery of this thirty-four-year-old photographer hovers between the dream and the nightmare of fatal femininity, with sensual colors and timeless beauty.
Although she was born in Moscow, Elizaveta Porodina moved with her family to Munich, Germany, at the age of 13. Her mother introduced her to art, and gradually the young girl built an important visual culture. However, she decided to focus her career on clinical psychology at first, and used photography as a simple form of entertainment, taking pictures of her friends: “I did not intend to be a photographer or an artist at all, and I just started taking pictures of my friends with whom I was hanging out back in the days. After the end of these shootings, I was not eating, I was not drinking, I just felt so elated by the whole thing.” While training as a psychiatrist, she became interested in visual media, especially photography.
At 22, she decided to follow this path, while remaining very influenced by humans and their psychology. “I am deeply fascinated by the fact that personality is nothing that can be described as coherent in any way. A person is a collection of memories, thoughts, experiences that he or she has collected throughout his or her whole life, and sometimes these pieces don’t even fit together. Through reflections, through distortions or doublings, I try to symbolize, and show how weird and absurd the combinations of all these parts are and how beautiful and how unique they make the person.” She then conducted “therapy shoots,” where she would give free rein to the expression of her emotions, anxieties, and obsessions.
The photographer sees her photographic practice as an extension of herself: “The most important thing for me as a photographer and as an artist is to stay pure to myself.” She also forges close relationships with her models: “Casting is a very very important topic, since the person who stands in front of the camera must be able to understand my aesthetics, my approach to melancholy and darkness, my love and penchant for weirdness.” A Surrealist selfie reflects the special relationship she has with her muses: Elizaveta Porodina, dressed all in black, one eye hidden behind a white rose, stands next to Maggie Mauer, naked, her skin of virginal whiteness. The two women seem interconnected, a kind of yin and yang, both opposed and complementary, one an extension of the other.
Between a disco Olympia or Cleopatra, all powerful and voluptuous, and a sphinx, the guardian of mysteries and knowledge, her muse Vivien Solari seems to beckon us to the gateway into the unconscious. Elizaveta Porodina takes us on a journey into the labyrinth of the mind, plunges us into the mist, just like the model whose glitter-covered face, worthy of a science fiction film, emerges from water the color of yellow-green acid. This is an invitation to forget, to abandon oneself. These images open onto a world of dreams, where strangeness, phantasmagoria, mirage, monstrosity, and beauty might feel alienating. The portrait of an enigmatic woman, whose hypnotic eyes gaze from behind her tenfold hands is a good example. Slipping into madness?
Elizaveta Porodina’s universe is as moving as her colors are shimmering. A woman with a pale, powdery complexion, orange eye makeup, and lips coated with pink gloss, cries almost plastic tears as she leans against a flaming-red velvet drapery. The image is almost Christ-like and clearly melancholic.
It’s easy to see why the artist is a favorite of the biggest luxury houses and brands such as Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Carolina Herrera, and Moncler: the territories of her lush, cinematic, and mysterious universe have no end!
Elizaveta Porodina,окна. Exhibition, until June 12, 2022. The exhibition will travel to Fotografiska Berlin and Fotografiska New York.