In the year 2000, to mark the fifth edition of the Prix HSBC pour la Photographie (then called the Prix de la Fondation CCF pour la photographie), Jacqueline d’Amecourt, curator of the collection of the Lhoist group, was appointed artistic counselor of the prize. Following Catherine Gfeller and Yoshiko Murakami, this year’s winners were Valérie Belin and Carole Fékété. For our latest installment, we spoke to Valérie Belin about her work La cérémonie des objets.
For the retrospective of the 20th anniversary of the Prix HSBC pour la Photographie, L’Oeil de la Photographie will be presenting every week two “episodes,” introducing you to the past winners of the prize and see where they are now.
L’Œil de la Photographie : The Prix HSBC pour la Photographie turns 20 this year. It is awarded annually to two photographers to help them complete a project that is exhibited and published as a monograph, often the artist’s first. What was your experience with the prize ?
Valérie Belin : It was the first time my work had been recognized, and that encouraged me. The exhibition was one of my first solo shows, and the monograph was important in getting my work out there.
LODLP : Can you tell us about your winning project? Has the prize had an influence on your subsequent work ?
V. B. : The award was given to me for my early work, from 1993 to 1999. The prize had no direct influence on my work, but it was an important help.
LODLP : Apart from the monograph, what impact did the prize have on your career? And what is your relationship like with HSBC today ?
V. B. : The prize had an impact on my career, the way that every exhibition and important publication necessarily has an impact on an artist’s career. I’ve stayed on very friendly terms with the heads of the Fondation HSBC throughout my career.
« Valérie Belin uses photography as an obsessive attempt to grasp reality. She seeks to avoid digression of form, striving to penetrate the heart of the matter. Her photographs of glass objects taken in Venice or mirrors taken in décor shops complete this research. In parallel, she is interested in body issues: wedding dresses, like car wrecks, speak of the absence of a body and of a certain hope of remembering. In her flower series, bouquets appear to wither before they have even bloomed; in the markets of Rungis, the carcasses tell us of invisible animals. She uses black and white, ‘colours’ that enhance light. Her choice of large formats draws us to the heart of her subjects; tight framing, cutting away all contexts, and cluttered enticing places give these images great beauty. »
Jacqueline d’Amécourt – Artistic Advisor 2000
Monographie Valérie Belin
La cérémonie des objets
Editions Actes Sud
ISBN : 2-7427-2834-1