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Galerie Caroline O’Breen : Elsa Leydier : The Disobediences


Galerie Caroline O’Breen (Amsterdam) is presenting new work by the French photographer Elsa Leydier until September 2, 2023. THE DISOBEDIENCES, a solo exhibition by Leydier, refers to acts of resistance against the status quo. It challenges conventional norms and practices that perpetuate the exploitation of nature and women. With ecofeminism at the core of this presentation, it emphasises the need for ecological balance and gender equality. This movement questions the hierarchical structures of society and envisions a world free from oppression and domination. THE DISOBEDIENCES presents five distinct projects, all echoing ecofeminism — FLORA BRASILIENSIS 3.0, LES MARQUES, INFINITA, ALWAYS FREEDOM, and LUT-O-A — that collectively weave a network of resistance and hope.

In FLORA BRASILIENSIS 3.0, Leydier confronts dominant imagery that shaped the Western perception of Brazil, where the artist lives and works part of the year. She reinterprets Flora Brasiliensis, a 19th-century extensive encyclopedia from European writers, and digitally intervenes on photographs of plants. All this to underline the gaps and shifts inevitably generated by our attempts to represent nature. LES MARQUES addresses the commodification and objectification of women’s bodies. The artworks are alive, with plants growing through the pages of so-called ‘women’s magazines’. The work refers to the influence of capitalism on the environment and the female body, and advocates for freedom.

INFINITA reflects on self-empowerment and liberation from societal expectations of female beauty. Leydier intervenes on photographs of her own body, using painting, collage, and drawing. By avoiding digital retouching, she metaphorically rejects the construct of a standardised female image propagated by the visual culture. It is this appropriation of women’s bodies that Elsa Leydier also denounces in ALWAYS FREEDOM.

LUT-O-A is a feministic street collage project practiced by a collective founded by Elsa Leydier in Brazil. The photographs of the threatened Atlantic forest are juxtaposed with pages of decrees authorising deforestation, symbolising the struggle against capitalist projects that destroy ecosystems. In a feminist gesture, the A4-sized documents are modified with black-painted letters, transforming the Portuguese word for mourning “luto” into “luta,” meaning “fight.”


Elsa Leydier (1988, France) lives and works between France and Brazil. In her artistic and activist practice, she explores the limits of society through photography, focusing on diverting the political charge of iconic images. Her work challenges conventional representations and proposes ways to reclaim the dominant narratives of visual culture. Borrowing methodologies of ecofeminism, Leydier works with the notions of ecosystems, economies, climate, bodies, and social relations.  Elsa Leydier graduated from École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles in 2015 and moved to Brazil right after. Her work was showcased in Colombia, the US, the Netherlands, Portugal, Norway, France and Japan. Recent exhibitions include Jeu de Paume outside-the-walls (Le Cellier, France), Festival Encontros da Imagem (Portugal), Festival Photo Climat (France), Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie – Fondation Manuel Rivera Ortiz (France), Atelier Noua (Norway), Hosoo gallery (Japan), among others. Leydier has been recognized as a finalist for several awards, including FOAM Talents (2020 and 2019), Prix Fisheye (2023), Dahinden – Photo Climat Award (2021), French national Photographic commission Image 3.0 (2020), the Mentorat Des Filles de la Photo (2020-2021).


Elsa Leydier : The Disobediences
Until September 2, 2023
Galerie Caroline O’Breen
Hazenstraat 54
1016 SR Amsterdam, Netherlands

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