Rencontres d’Arles 2019: visit ‘Valérie Belin: Painted Ladies’

An exhibition of Valérie Belin’s recent series Painted Ladies (2017) will run through 22 September as part of the 50th anniversary of Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles.

Through a series of fictionalised, archetypal portraits Painted Ladies sees Belin revisit and develop the motif of constructed beauty; a foundational theme of her work since she first began to photograph the human form in 1999. Each portrait is named for the specific brush used to paint the models’ faces, or the equivalent digital retouching tools used by Belin in post-production. The resulting imagery not only explores the relationship between painting and photography, but also manipulation of both image and viewer – highlighting society’s increasing acceptance of edited realities as fact.

Belin’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Photography, Amsterdam, and was the focus of a major retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, Paris in 2015. The same year, Belin became the sixth annual winner of the Prix Pictet for her series Still Life, drawing global attention to issues of environmental sustainability. In 2017, she was named Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters, and this year is nominated for the Prix de la Photo Madame Figaro, Arles.

Valérie Belin: Painted Ladies runs through 22 September, at La Mécanique Générale, Arles with an accompanying limited edition publication Painted Ladies: Photographs by Valérie Belin, published by Éditions Xavier Barral (2019). Find out more here.

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