May 30 - July 16, 2008
Just like a woman
galerie jerome de noirmont

exhibition release

On the verge of sleep, when the mind, rather than switching off or letting go, floats on the sheet in a moist foetal warmth, the verticals sometimes merge with the horizon to engender drives that are stronger than desire. The conjunction occurs far from the eyes, in an in-between space where we feel our way, on automatic pilot; it is like a dream escaping from the night.
Thoughts emerge from this no-man’s-land, this innocent, dense jungle over which we have no authority but to where we are constantly returning, with the same thirst for surprise, the same marvelling astonishment. The most beautiful, extravagant and creative thoughts. They grow in these autonomous regions, often rebellious, where the secret stands; and in truth they are only half ours: the tensions, the release, the division that they imply oblige us, to paraphrase Lao Tseu, to open the door and play the passive role. Some immediately retract and return to dream; others, fortunately, we profit from. However who should we thank? Who do we talk to when we talk to ourselves? Who is expressing himself? Who is answering?
With its floral wallpapers, Chambre close introduced fiction into photography: like a two-way mirror, a space beyond the frame. The new series by Bettina Rheims approaches it, if only by the interlacing of its backgrounds; but this time it is the birth of a fiction, the idea at its source, in its hesitancy, that is laid bare, its floating origins, the grace of its flight and, like forceps marks, the stigmata of its delivery, the signs of its passion.

Serge Bramly – March 2008

From May 30 to July 16, Bettina Rheims will unveil her brand new series entitled Just like a woman: 13 colour portraits of women, which takes us to the very essence of the art of the French photographer. Recumbent on sheets splashed with colour, the women in this new series remind the models of Chambre Close, who lay on different backgrounds of coloured wallpapers; in the same way, here each sheet corresponds to a woman.

By shooting her models from above for the first time, thus placing them in a closer and more intimate relationship with herself, Bettina Rheims seems to capture these women while awakening in the morning, or in a moment in between, a “beautiful agony” between ecstasy and suffering… Only the expression in their eyes might guide us in understanding their intimate feelings in this fleeting moment.
These women pose nude or wearing lingerie, their cheeks flushed with their inner troubles, and their coloured skin bearing visible imprints like those of their underclothes… Once stood upright, in these large format prints (155 x 125 cm), they suddenly express a gush, like recumbent statues that would have been stood up, a gush here linked to desire…

These portraits of women are at the heart of the artist’s work. This new series fits naturally within it, with a new look at what it means to be a woman in today’s society. This colour-filled series shows us once again the quality of Bettina Rheims’ portraits and their ability to reveal the deepest human feelings with an always palpable look.

All photos: Edition of 3 and 1 artist’s proof. 155 x 125 cm

CATALOGUE available from May 30. French/English text by Serge Bramly. All works reproduced full-page in colour. Edition limited to 1000 copies.

PRESS CONTACT: Emmanuelle de Noirmont / Ludyvine Travers-Pitrou
Tel : +33 (0) / Fax : +33 (0) / E-mail :
IMAGES: 300 dpi images available on request at the gallery.