Valérie Belin France, b. 1964

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

-Valérie Belin

 

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".