Elena Brake is a visual artist making participatory and event-based performance, documentation, video and ephemera. Her work operates via a series of invitations, triggers and prompts to reconsider overlooked everyday activities and objects, and rediscover feelings of curiosity and wonder. The structures she creates give people permission to engage in meditative, deliberate and hypnotic activities that allow for focus, awareness and consciousness. She rewards people for searching, looking, finding and noticing new things in the most mundane of circumstances.
Often the work takes place in public or non-art spaces, offering up unusual and unexpected person-to-person interactions and creating new connections between people, objects and behaviours. Simple invitations, like tying knots together or enacting domestic chores, forego small talk in favour of creating focus on more existential questions. Elena is particularly interested in making work that is engaging for people who don’t necessarily know about art, by removing expectations around how people interact with art objects and events and replacing these with straightforward actions that are easy to take part in and become a part of.
Elena is based in Plymouth, UK and has shown work in a variety of contexts including DIY residencies and events at Liverpool Aquatic Centre (2017), Plymouth Art Weekender (2017 and 2018) and Exeter Phoenix (2018) and selected group shows such as UK Young Artists National Festival, Derby (2016); MAKE/SHIFT at AIR Gallery, Altrincham (2017); Kitschen: Cooking Up a Debate at Iklectik Art Lab, London (2016); Fringe Arts Bath (2017); Counter Book Fair, Plymouth (2018). In 2018, Elena was selected for the Plymouth Platform programme, producing a new large-scale public participatory work for Plymouth Art Weekender, funded by Arts Council England. Elena is also a founding Director of CAMP - Contemporary Art Membership Plymouth - a new member-led network for the creative and visual arts community in Plymouth and the South West, including artists, producers, curators and arts writers.