Elena Helfrecht (*1992) is a German visual artist based in Bavaria. She completed her MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art in London in 2019, after studying Art and Image History at Humboldt-Universität in Berlin from 2016 to 2017 and receiving her BA in Art History and Book Science from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität in Erlangen in 2015.
Her practice revolves around the inner space and the phenomena of consciousness, emerging from an autobiographical context and opening up to the surreal and fantastic, at times grotesque. Interweaving memories, experiences, and imagination, she creates inextricable narratives with multiple layers of meaning, characterised by a visceral iconography. Within her work, photography serves as a direct connection between the internal and the external realm. Through this process, she relates individual experiences to a collective history and turns personal involvement into a shared understanding. She is influenced by the folklore and landscapes of her home and her passion for Art History and Psychology.
Elena’s work has been shown in more than ten countries, in group and solo exhibitions at institutions and festivals such as South London Gallery (UK), Galleria Civica Cavour (IT), The Benaki Museum / Athens Photo Festival (GR), Technische Sammlungen Dresden (DE), Photo Vogue Festival (IT), Encontros da Imagem (PT), FORMAT Festival Derby (UK), and Palácio das Artes (BR).
She was a recipient of the British Journal of Photography International Photo Award, as well as the Sony World Photo Award, the Camera Work Award and the AOP Student Award. She was also nominated for the FOAM Paul Huf Award and selected as one of the Bloomberg New Contemporaries, and as a Jury Favourite for the Le Bal Award for Young Creation, among others. Her images have been featured and reviewed in numerous publications such as ZEIT Magazin, Financial Times Weekend, British Journal of Photography, GUP Magazine, Der Greif, and Source Magazine.
She has given lectures and talks at institutions such as the London College of Communication, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, the University of Brighton, Arts University Bournemouth, and the University of Europe. She is a member of the German Photographic Academy, and VG Bildkunst. Elena’s work is held in private and public collections.