Bettina Rheims: Girls Night In
Edwynn Houk Gallery, September 16th – November 6th , 2010
OK, so who hasn’t she photographed yet? From pop stars to fashion models, and in 1995 a commissioned portrait of Jacques Chirac, this internationally known French photographer has established herself as one of Europe’s most critically acclaimed artists.
Her background as a model has infused her body of work with the style of fashion photography yet at the same time, the images on view here are very erotically charged profiles of the feminine physique.
These are large and richly saturated set photographs, and the women in these photos are the stars, who seem to play a flirtatious game with the viewer, who is thus obligated to play the part of voyeur. What distinguishes these nudes from other photographers’ works may be no more than the right career choices at the right time. That said, seeing such a strong body of work featuring the allure of the feminine form – from a female perspective – lends this exhibit a feeling of intimacy not often associated with voyeurism.
There are several works here from a series called ‘Chambre Close’, a collaborative project with writer Serge Bramly who provided the text to compliment photos for a fictional book of confessions by Monsieur X, a discreet elderly voyeur with an immense curiosity about the female body. Other series featured here in this exhibit are ‘Heroines’ 2005, and ‘Porquoi m’as abandonnee?’ – which translates to ‘why hast though abandoned me?’
This is a good sampling of Rheims’ career over the years for an American audience not overly familiar with her work.