Elvira Kolerova's Figures & Incidents (2016-17)
"By using the visual language of slasher movies combined with vivid colours, strong contrasts and often feeble light she creates a mysterious space with its tension and uncertainty, while every picture tells its own story."
We spoke to Russian born, Berlin based photographic artist Elvira Kolerova about her work Figures and Incidents - a series that makes use of slasher/gore film semiology to comment on the mortality of being human. The work blends photographic fine art and cinematography to create a narrative reminiscent of confusion, alienation and frailty.
Abstract: Elvira Kolerova is a Russian-born photographer who lives and works in Berlin, Germany. In her ongoing photographic project with the working title “Figures and Incidents” (2016-2017) she explores the aesthetics, manipulative techniques and the stylistic construction of the probably least respected film genre ‒ the slasher film. By using the visual language of slasher movies combined with vivid colours, strong contrasts and often feeble light she creates a mysterious space with its tension and uncertainty, while every picture tells its own story. The not knowing of what is going on, what happened or what happens next is what slasher movies and this photographic project are all about. At the same time, the series reflects on loneliness, vulnerability and mortality of human beings. Most of the works are staged photography inspired by the horror classics of the eighties and the photographer's own nightmares. The intriguing forms of expression, the creation of suspense and mysterious moments that never took place as well as the search for new photographic aesthetics is what fascinates the artist most in working at this series.
PW: Tell us more about you and your artwork.
EK: I am a Russian-born photographer from Moscow. I live in Berlin since 2002. I've always been interested in visual arts. Yet it was not until 2014 that I focused on photography. Prior to that I studied American cultural studies with a focus on film and literature. I do not follow a certain style, but prefer to experiment with various mediums and styles. My ongoing series is completely different from my other projects―in terms of content and techniques.
PW: How did you plan for this project? What was your creative process?
EK: I did not really plan this project. I started making pictures from what came to my mind and then made a series out of them. Most of the images were influenced by American slasher movies of the eighties.
PW: What work inspires or has inspired you?
EK: While working at this project I wasn't really inspired by any other artists, but by the classic horror movies, of which I have always been a fan. But, of course, there are several artists that inspire me. My favorite photographers at the moment are Shomei Tomatsu, Eikoh Hosoe and Piotr Zbierski.
PW: Are there any artistic movements you enjoy in particular and why?
EK: I like the visual language of modernism. For my work, I guess, it is the combination of the documentary with the artistic that I find most fascinating.
PW: Do you have any opinions or ideals underlying your art?
EK: My only ideal at the moment is hard work. This is the only way to grow and to achieve good results.
PW: You’ve mentioned it slightly in your abstract. Can you tell us a bit more about how you touch on slasher and gore filmic devices to deliver semiology on loneliness, vulnerability and mortality?
EK: Obviously, my photographic series as well as horror movies shouldn't be taken too seriously. Yet I believe that this film genre reminds us of the fact that horrible things can always happen to us or to someone we know. People should enjoy their precious lives more.
PW: On a side note which film work inspired this series?
EK: It wasn't one particular movie that inspired this project. I watched many of them. It is the atmosphere and directness of these movies that inspired me and which I tried to re-create in the series.
PW: Any words for aspiring photographers?
EK: Most photographers know what it is like to be out of ideas for a while. In such cases I just photograph things in a way I normally wouldn't do. This helps. It's about doing things. Even if you are not quite sure why you are doing them right now.
PW: Is there anything you’re currently working on?
EK: At the moment I am working at my first photo book and plan a documentary photographic project.