Born in 1964 in Boulogne-Billancourt (FR)
Lives and works in Paris (FR)
Represented by the gallery Nathalie Obadia, Paris (FR)
Proceeding by series and by a work of great formal rigour, Valérie Belin strives to question the modalities of the photographic image and the relationship of the image to reality. Systematically analysing the nature of the medium, she is particularly interested in the role of light that she analyses in a rich chromatic complexity of greys, blacks and whites and that she envisions as much a tool for modelling the shape as an indicator of the image. She has developed a singular style, neither documentary nor naturalistic, relying on a context-free treatment of the subject, based on powerful contrasts that heighten its graphic character and of close-up shots that make it monumental.
Valérie Belin re-empowers photography as an art of the grammar of volume, of space and of the shot, dealing once again with sculpture and painting, where she revisits the genres of portrait painting and still life as much as she does abstraction. As an instrument of vision and sensitive experience of the world, photography is removed from its relationship with the real and its definition is stretched to its most abstract dimension, whatever the subject might be.
Valérie Belin’s subjects are models subjected to the ordeal of depiction. All treated in the same way with the same value, from classic to contemporary and from sumptuous to trivial, they acquire an impressive presence which literally commands the eye and questions perception. Valérie Velin gives the accent and the velvety softness of the natural to artificial subjects, while the natural subjects become plastic jewels under her light. Freaks become realistic and horror splendid. In a gallery of portraits which treats the human figure in an iconic manner, wax and magazine models exchange their skin tones while the muscular corpulence of bodybuilders and the sartorial attire of oriental women flaunt the extremes in ideals of beauty. The reflections of glass in the crystal mirrors cut infinite holes into the shot of the image while meat carcasses and torn plastic compete for preciousness… the gleam and the preciousness of Valérie Belin’s images confound the eye.
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