In response to the invitation by the Museum of Fine Arts of Bordeaux (MusBA), which regularly invites contemporary artists to give a personal perspective on its collections, Valérie Belin proposes Silent Visions , a major solo exhibition organised in partnership with Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, Brussels) and Edwynn Houk Gallery (New-York).

Valérie Belin (born in 1964) is considered as one of the greatest artists of her generation and one of the few representatives of plastic photography. The exhibition dedicated to her work follows on from other exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts dedicated to women artists, from contemporary artist Suzanne Lafont in 2018 to Rosa Bonheur in 2022.


Anthology and elective affinities
The exhibition includes approximately 100 works from the artist’s career, from the late 1990s to more recent series, one of which shown to the public. Spread over the two sites of the Museum of Fine Arts, the exhibition highlights the pictorial dimension of her work.

In addition to the works presented in the Gallery, which come from Valérie Belin’s most emblematic series (Robes , Modèles II, Michael Jackson, Black Women, Mariées marocaines, Têtes couronnées, Still Life, Bouquets, Corbeilles de fruits, Intérieurs , Bodybuilders , etc.), the exhibition also includes more recent works (Painted Ladies, Reflection, Modern Royals , All Star and Heroes ) and the Museum of Fine Arts is particularly pleased to be able to present five works from her new series, Lady Stardust (2023).

The many artist’s many references to the history of art, through still life, portrait, nudes and body worship, creates a new and stimulating dialogue with the Bordeaux collections. In the two wings of the museum, eleven photographs are displayed alongside the collections of paintings and drawings. For example, Velvet Centaurea (Black -Eyed Susan series) features next to Ophélie by Jules-Elie Delaunay, in which the figure is also adorned with daisies.

Narcissist before the mirror
Through her images saturated with visual signs, as is the case of her most recent works, Valérie Belin plays with the codes of representation and blurs the boundaries between reality and the imaginary. In doing so, she retraces the technological and ontological changes in photography, from analogue to digital, while following in the footsteps of the avant-gardes of the interwar period by adopting techniques such as overprinting and solarisation. Her use of colour, from 2006 onwards, bestows a more pictorial dimension and sometimes a boldly "collage-like” aspect on her works.

Fool’s game
So, Valérie Belin blurs the lines between the real and the virtual, nature and artifice, inanimate objects and living beings, presence and absence, hyperrealism and metaphor. The artist likes to say that she does not produce “photographs of objects”, but “portraits of objects”, in which she sees a “metaphor of the body traversed by light”. The Bodybuilders with their bulging, oiled bodies find an echo in the metal carcasses of the wrecked Cars , while the storefront Mannequins often seem more human than their flesh-and-blood counterparts.

Curators: Valérie Belin and Sophie Barthélémy, Director of MusBA.

Press Kit MusBA





Valérie Belin : "Les visions silencieuses" du 24 avril au 28 octobre 2024, Musée des Beaux-Arts : galerie. (c)Mairie de Bordeaux, musée des Beaux-Arts, photo F.Deval