Elin Brissman

My name is Elin Brissman, I’m a Swede living and working in Bergen, Norway. I got a Master of Fine Arts from the Bergen Academy of Arts and Design in 2011, and have been working as an independent artist ever since. 

I work with photorealistic painting in a formalistic style, painting nondescript buildings from the time between WWII and the mid seventies. I want to try to highlight their often quiet and overlooked beauty. By spending a lot of time and effort on them, I wish to improve their status, get people to look differently on their quotidian surroundings, pay attention to the unspectacular and respect the modernist architecture. I believe we’re failing to appreciate what we have. These buildings are a cultural heritage that’s threatened simply because we’re not seeing the value in it, and seeing them painted in oil on linen might provide a new perspective on what we tend to take for granted. 

Post-war architecture also has a use of material that makes them fantastic motifs, with unlimited painterly challenges. I always strive to become a better painter, and in the plainest of façades there are so many things to work with, from a lace curtain behind a half-reflective window glas, to the repetitions of a brick façade or the undulating stripes corrugated iron. 

This project is one that I’ve been working on since my Bachelor degree. I’m fascinated by post-war architecture and the quiet simplicity of many buildings from this period. Focus was put on details and materials, and as they age and need large-scale renovation, these qualities are often lost behind cheap modern cladding, and what remains is often pretty soul-less. I hope that I by making people pay attention to these buildings can make more people appreciate them for what they are, and preserve them for the future. 

At the same time my work is a documentation of my world, snapshots of the quotidian and the overlooked, and a never-ending painterly challenge. Because that’s what it all rests upon: the work in the studio, the craft, the slowness.