The Origin of Touch

‘The Origin of Touch’ is a negotiation between inside and outside, and an inquiry into the phenomenon of consciousness. The need to touch and to be touched, the very essence of communication, is programmed into our minds and bodies when leaving our mothers’ wombs. Only by transitioning from being plural to being singular, to being lost, our consciousness emerges. The organ of touch is facing inwards, and flesh is nothing but a medium. Our skin is a limit, and a limit is deprived of a body. By nature, the photographic image lies between life and death, between here and now. Frozen, as I would like to be, not ageing, not conscious, merely a mirror: at the same time a limit and a medium.

This work takes the imaginary memory of the original maternal touch as a starting point and expands into a galaxy to be explored, a vacuum between life and death. I am a child again, gathering stones from the river. I compile shards of places I find, making an associative collection, and rearrange them to create a new, fictional space. I project an immaterial inside onto a corporeal exterior, altering the shared reality in front of the apparatus. A door is opened for a moment, leading through skin and surface, into the beyond. This collection of images is the conjuring of a paradise lost and the mythology of a place impossible to find.

Elena Helfrecht (b. 1992, Germany) is a visual artist based in London. In 2014 she graduated in Art History and Book Science at Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen and completed her Master in Photography at the Royal College of Art in 2019. Through photography, she examines the inner space, consciousness, and communication. Her images are created from multiple layers of meaning, characterised by a visceral iconography. She is influenced by the folklore of her childhood in Bavaria and her active and continuous passion for Art History and Psychology.

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