(b. 1960, Stockholm)
Through her photography, Helene Schmitz explores humanity's complicated relationship to nature and the elements, to time and transience. Schmitz's works often deal with conditions in the natural world that are about to shift, with change and transformations that turn what has been familiar into something unfamiliar. Her photographic suites are reflections on how the elements violently intertwine with human culture. Some of her award-winning books are dedicated to plants and the botanical world, also depicting also how plants were described during the Enlightenment. More recently, she has studied how human activities inscribe themselves in the contemporary landscape.
Helene Schmitz studied at Stockholm University. She has a BA in Film and Art History. Her numerous solo shows in Sweden include Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde (2018), Skellefteå Konsthall (2017), Fotografiska Stockholm (2016), Dunkers Kulturhus Helsingborg (2015), Kristinehamns Konstmuseum (2012), and Galleri Leger Malmö (2007). She has participated in several group exhibitions, including A HOME, at Thielska Galleriet (2022) A Way Away, Landskrona Museum and Etnografiska Museet Stockholm (2018, 2019), Struktur, Avesta Art (2016) and Another Story, at Moderna Museet Stockholm (2011).
Schmitz is also active internationally and has done solo shows at Oslo Negativ Norway (2022), House of Sweden, Washington (2021), Fotografiska, Tallinn (2021), Fotografiska New York (2020), Fotografisk Center Copenhagen (2019), Turn Gallery New York (2017, 2015), Willas Contemporary Oslo (2016), Galerie Maria Lund, Paris (2013, 2016) and Centre Culturel Suèdois, Paris (2007). International group shows include In Bloom, Fotografiska Stockholm (2023), Snowflakes and other Surprises, Nordic Photographic Center Oulu, Finland (2023), Fotografisk Center Copenhagen (2022), Feral Atlas Collective, Sharjah Architecture Triennial (2019), Feral Atlas Collective, Istanbul Biennial (2019), Herbarium Fotografi og Botanik, Fotografisk Center Copenhagen (2017), QPN #19 CHAOS, Nantes (2015).
Schmitz’s artistic œuvre has also been featured in several award-winning books where she has collaborated with writers, philosophers and historians of ideas, including Thinking Like a Mountain (2018), Borderlands (2015), Ur Regnskogens Skugga (2011), System och Passion (2007) and Blow Up (2003).
The book Thinking Like a Mountain won the Swedish Publishing Prize in 2019. Both Blow Up and Ur Regnskogens Skugga were nominated for the August Prize, and System och Passion has been translated into English (A Passion for Systems), French and Japanese. Schmitz was also commissioned to design stamps for the Swedish post office (Post Nord) in 2015.
Works by Schmitz has been acquired by collections such as Västerås Konstmuseum, Västerås Sweden, The Danish Agency for Culture, Copenhagen Denmark, the National Public Art Council, Stockholm Sweden, Oslo Municipality, Oslo Norway, Moderna Museet, Stockholm Sweden, the SEB Collection, Stockholm Sweden, the Cultural Administration of the Stockholm County Council, Stockholm Sweden and numerous Swedish and international private collections.