Valérie Belin (born 1964) 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 doesn't make "photographs of objects" but "portraits of objects", seeing in them a "metaphor for the body crossed by light". Bodybuilders, with their battered and oiled bodies, are matched by the metal carcasses of wrecked cars, while window mannequins often seem more human than their flesh doubles.


Through her images, the most recent of which are saturated with visual signs, Valérie Belin plays with the codes of representation and blurs the boundaries between reality and the imaginary. In this way, she has kept pace with the technological and ontological changes in photography, from analogue to digital, while at the same time following in the tradition of the avant-gardes of the inter-war years by appropriating techniques such as overprinting and solarisation. His switch to colour, from 2006 onwards, gave his photographs a more pictorial dimension and sometimes a fully assumed 'collage' aspect.

Bringing together around a hundred works spanning the artist's entire output, from the late 1990s to his most recent series, including one previously unpublished work, the book highlights the pictorial dimension of his photographic work.


The artist's many references to the history of art, through the genres of still life, portraiture, the nude and the cult of the body, also provide a stimulating dialogue with the Bordeaux collections. Eleven photographs, for example, are in conversation with paintings and drawings from the museum.