Texts by Sébastien Gokalp and Mélanie Lerat


This monograph offers to discover Valérie Belin’s body of work, through over thirty series, from the 1990s to the present day, and to examine how her different series respond to each other, evolve and question our relationship to beauty, artifice and the impermanence of things. From the shooting to the retouching work, the photographer creates by successive touches and layers, like a painter playing on the ambivalence between the living and the artificial. Mixing color and B&W, her work invokes many references to the history of art. The book accompanies the retrospective of the artist presented at the Museum of Fine Arts in Tourcoing, the MUba Eugene Leroy, from March 17, 2023.


Valérie Belin’s large-format images put us in a somewhat uncomfortable situation, between attraction and rejection, evidence and manipulation. They are conceived as oxymorons: distressing seduction, shabby luxury, dark happiness, deep surface, existential superficiality, arrested life, speaking image, photographic painting. Their universe is always paradoxical and ambiguous, full of irreducible tensions. What if we tried to grasp its foundations? What does it show us? What do we see?
Sébastien Gokalp, excerpt from the book