Elena Kaufmann

I was born in Soviet Union. I spent my youth in St. Petersburg. In 2012 I moved to Germany, in 2018 I changed my nationality and got German. I liked to talk about my city, which symbolized my homeland, but I often stumbled over the prejudices. I gave a lot of thought to the culture of home and how to carry it out into the world, what kind of responsibility one has in doing so. Today a dialogue about Russia is very difficult for me.

I have done many projects that turn us humans towards each other. Today my art supports me: it has always confirmed to me that it is not the origin, but the human that connects. Although I experience some negative things because of my background, at the same time there are many situations where only the human counts, but not where you come from.

From the whole experience in 2022, I formed an important thought that gives me hope: I want to care for the love in the hearts of children and young people, so as adults in the situation where they have to make decisions, they can rediscover this love again and be guided by it. Maybe this thought is a start of a new art project.

About photography and art projects

During my photography studies, the lessons sparked a great interest in documentary photography in me. The person who had been the center of my attention until now was now appearing more and more often in situations of capturing reality. In 2019 I was allowed to be a student of the MAGNUM photographer in Paris - an intensive experience that has given me one of the most important impulses in my photography so far. I admired him, a man who is not afraid to stand up for his truth. And he inspired me to love and live mine. I've always had trouble photographing people the way they want to see themselves. No, my portraits will not become the profile pictures on their Facebook pages. I look for what is hidden in people. I often get tears for that, hear: Yes, that's me. This means a lot to me because I think I've found it and I can show how beautiful we are when we don't hide behind the undergrowth of having to "appear". How wonderful it is not to have to constantly protect yourself and just be there. True as you are. I love to reach the point in the conversation where the person is natural and open towards me with all their wounds, their fears and their search for happiness. At that moment, an energy arises that makes me think for a moment, I understand the world after all...

In 2018 I exhibited my first major art project "A Year with the Star" about a Jewish community. Working on the project moved a lot in me and so I decided to deepen this and create a new dimension with my new project "The White Thread". The combination of woman and religiosity in just one photo - and only with the focus on the deeply human and personal, on desires, on experiences, on feelings, without signs, without rituals, without titles. pure people. pure women.

We can try, but alone we often spin in a closed circle and linger in one place. I am very grateful to have been working together with two talented people for several years: Antje-Maria Lochthofen and Martin Kaufmann, to learn from both, to grow and to appreciate unlimitedly to have the two by my side.


2021 "The White Thread", Railwaystation forecourt, Erfurt

2019 “24-ONE: Fire Station. Waiting.”, Angermuseum Erfurt

2018 "A year with the star", Kunsthalle Erfurt

2016 "My neighbor is too loud", Atelierhaus Vogelsgarten, Erfurt - Long Night of the Museums

2016 "My neighbor is too loud", Nerly, Erfurt

2011 "Culture Palace", Atelierhaus Vogelsgarten, Erfurt


2019 "WASTING TiME", Atelierhaus Vogelsgarten Erfurt

2018 "Quo Vadis", Schauspielhaus Erfurt

2016 "YEA", Kunsthaus Erfurt

2015 "Diary of missed opportunities", FÖN, Erfurt

2009 "Fifty", Cultural Center of Art and Music, Saint Petersburg


2021 Project funding from the Ministry of Justice, Migration and Constitution and the State Capital of Thuringia's Department of Culture

2019 Project funding from the Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Nature Conservation and the State Capital of Thuringia's Department of Culture

2018 project funding from the state capital of Thuringia's cultural department

2018 Project funding from the ACHAVA Festival in Thuringia, the Jewish State of Thuringia and the State Capital of Thuringia's cultural department