Valerie Belin

This photograph has a hybrid nature which places the subject between the organic and the sublime.

—Valérie Belin

This photograph is the result of further investigation of the hybrid nature of photography. Like in my Black Eyed Susan series, I created two distinct photographs (the portrait and the flowers) that I then superimposed with other graphics to create a third photograph. In "White Narcissus in Orange (Color Wonder)", the woman's face almost fuses together with the bouquets of flowers and the comics.

She is defined by rigid shapes that are artificially "heightened" as in the traditional icons of that era. Her jewelry, hairstyle, and makeup are done in such a way to relate with the baroque shapes of the flowers. The waves and curls of the hair, the round shapes of the beaded necklaces and the colors of the makeup create a dialog with the flowers and leaves, which appear as ornaments added to the face and skin.

In a similar formalistic concern, I have chosen flowers with a simple, precise outline used here for its purely graphic qualities, to create a sort of decorative vegetal framework with bouquets of flowers in which the woman's face is inscribed as part of a whole, as in wallpaper.

The graphic text frames the portrait, its font corresponding to the curves of the lady's hair and the shapes of the petals. The phrase "Gang life" is a striking contrast to the elegance of the portrayed woman, whose appearance is perfectly in accordance with conventional aesthetic codes of the fifties. Merged with the floral pattern, comics seen on either side of the woman give the image a subtle tension.

The result of the superimposition is a surprising image that evokes a particularly sophisticated form of overlay. This photograph has a hybrid nature which places the subject between the organic and the sublime. The Baroque style has also been an inspiration for me. I'm especially interested in flowers as imagery because to me, they're an ideal "baroque pattern".


Born in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, 1964
Lives and works in Paris

A student at the Beaux-Arts School of Versailles (1983-1985), and then at the National School of Art of Bourges (1985-1988), she obtained the French Higher National Diploma in Visual Expression in 1988 and also holds a diploma in advanced studies (DEA) in the philosophy of art from the University of Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne (1989).

Initiated by various minimalist and conceptual tendencies, Valérie Belin became interested in the photographic medium in its own right; this is at the beginning of the work of her work and her way of reflecting and creating. Light, matter and the "body" of things and beings in general, their transformations and representations, constitute the field of her experiments and the world of her artistic ideas. Her work is articulated in photographic series, each one produced within the framework of a specific project.

The works of Valérie Belin have been exhibited around the world and are held in private and private collections. Winner of the Pictet Award in 2015 (Disorder), she was made an officer of France's Order of Arts and Letters in 2017.

Please visit the artist's website for a complete list of exhibitions.

Solo Exhibitions:

La Belle et la Béte, Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez, Bordeaux, France
Valérie Belin: Meta-Clichés, Chengdu Museum, Chengdu, China
Valérie Belin: Meta-Clichés, Shanghai Center of Photography, Shanghai, China Valérie Belin: Meta-Clichés, Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Beijing, China Valérie Belin, All Star, Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York, NY

Valérie Belin, All Star, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, France

Super Models, Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York, NY
Les images intranquilles (Unquiet Images), Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

I could never be a dancer (Performance), Centre Pompidou, Paris, France Surface Tension, DHC/ART Foundation, Montreal, Canada
Still Life, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Brussels, Belgium
Private Art Krichberg, Cabinet Arendt & Medernach, Luxembourg Silencio, Paris, France

MJ6, Spectacles vivants, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
Valérie Belin, New Palimpsests, Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York, NY Valérie Belin, Illusions of life, Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, Russia

Michael Hoppen Gallery, London, United Kingdom

O ser e o aparecer, Casa Franca-Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Hungry Eyes, FotoMuseum Provincie Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium Eyes Wide Shut, Cultuurcentrum Knokke-Heist, Knokke-Heist, Belgium

Galerie Jérôme-de-Noirmont, Paris, France Sikkema Jenkins & Co Gallery, New York, NY

Made-up, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA

Galerie Jérôme-de-Noirmont, Paris, France Correspondances, Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France Musée de l' Élysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
Maison européenne de la photographie, Paris, France

Huis Marseille, Amsterdam, Netherlands BrancoliniGrimaldi Artecontemporanea, Rome, Italy

Galerie Xippas, Paris, France
Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Gallery, New York, NY Michael Hoppen Gallery, London, United Kingdom

Fiedler contemporary, Cologne, Germany Brent Sikkema Gallery, New York, NY

Galerie Xippas, Paris, France Domus Artium

Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea, Donostia-San Sebastiàn, Spain

Centro de Arte de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain Xippas Gallery, Athens, Greece
Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Gallery, New York, NY fiedler contemporary, Cologne, Germany Patrick De Brock Gallery, Knokke, Belgium

Galerie Fotohof, Salzburg, Austria Galerie Xippas, Paris, France

Galerie de l'Aquarium, école des beaux-arts, Valenciennes, France Galerie Vox, Montreal, Canada
French Institute, Dresden, Germany

Union centrale des arts décoratifs, Paris, France
Musée de Picardie, Amiens, France
Centre d'art contemporain de Vassiviére en Limousin, Beaumont-du-Lac, France

Galerie Xippas, Paris, France Galerie Prinz, Kyoto, Japan

Galerie municipale Édouard-Manet, Gennevilliers, France Des séances, Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine, France

Galerie Alain Gutharc, Paris, France
École nationale d'arts, Cergy-Pontoise, France

Grants and Awards:

Paris Photo prize, 1997
The CCF (HSBC) Foundation for Photography Prize, 2000
Prix Pictet, 2015
Chevalier position of France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres since 2009

Public Collections:

National Library of France, Paris, France
The Capital Group Companies Inc., Los Angeles, USA
CCF (HSBC) Foundation for Photography, Paris, France
Pompidou Center, Paris, France
E.ON AG Collection, Düsseldorf, Germany
Neuflize Vie Collection, Paris, France
Societe Generale Collection of Contemporary Art, Paris, France
Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, Paris, France
Ordóñez-Falcón Foundation, Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain
National Fund of Contemporary Art, Paris, France
FRAC (Regional Contemporary Art Fund) Limousin, Limoges, France
FRAC (Regional Contemporary Art Fund) Franche-Comté, Besançon, France
FRAC (Regional Contemporary Art Fund) Île-de-France, Paris, France
Altadis Group, Paris, France
Lhoist Group, Limelette, Belgium
Huis Marseille, Amsterdam, Netherlands
International Center for Photography, New York, USA
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, USA
JP Morgan Chase Art Program, New York, USA
Kunstmuseum Lichtenstein, Lichtenstein
Kunsthaus Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
The Red House, Antoine-de-Galbert Foundation, Paris, France
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA
European House of Photography, Paris, France
Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas, USA
Miniature Museum, Ria & Lex Daniels Collection, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Netherlands
Mudam Luxembourg, Museum of Modern Art Grand Duke Jean, Luxembourg
Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris, Paris, France
Elysee Museum, Lausanne, Switzerland
Museum of Fine Arts and Lace, Calais, France
Galliera Museum, Paris, France
Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
National Gallery of Australia, ACT Parkes, Canberra, Australia
National Museum of Contemporary Art Korea, Seoul, South Korea
Neuberger Berman Inc., New York, USA
Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, USA
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, USA
Pilara Family Foundation, San Francisco, USA
Progressive Corp., Mayfield Village, USA
Sammlung Essl, Kunst Der Gegenwart, Klosterneuburg, Vienna, Austria
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA
UBS Art Collection, Luxembourg
Vontobel Bank, Zürich, Switzerland

Artist's Website: