Photographer Valérie Belin’s work is based on a precise protocol that may be considered as an obsessive endeavour to appropriate the real. The way in which she deals with people and things in her works is striking for its spectacular, uncluttered character, which limits any narrative or documentary interpretation.
Her work develops through a series of images based on a subtle use of repetition and variation. The absolute head-on view, the radically two-dimensional approach, the lack of context and the size of the formats give an iconic value to the various subjects she has chosen for their power in illustrating the uncertainties and paradoxes of the “living”.
In her first series, and especially those dedicated to crystal vases and glasses (1993), Valérie Belin worked only on the light spectrum of the objects and remained very close to the primary process of photography. On the other hand, in her very latest creations, whether colour or black-and-white, the new image technologies have given her the option of using a freer, more pictorial, dreamlike treatment of the subject, as, for example, in the pictures of the magicians, of the dancer at the Lido and of the baskets of fruit (2007). Modern tools have led the artist to see photography beyond the analogue, as a means of creating a pure image captured directly by the artist at the very heart of her models. Much more than a figurative medium, photography offers the artist the possibility of probing the evanescent frontiers between reality and illusion, to reveal the profound supernaturalism of her portraits.