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Les Mesnographies : Elene Usdin


The Inhabitants

Starting from the timeless genre of portraiture, Elene Usdin disrupts it by painting directly on the photographic print. She paints the emotions, hidden behind the calm gaze of her teenage models. The artist questions a certain idea of ​​photography which defines it by its reproducibility. Her pictures of the Inhabitants have become unique pieces. Elene Usdin paints fanciful costumes on her photographed models, in a spooky dialogue with the history of art (250 hours to illuminate each portrait). Seized at the fragile age of adolescence, this brief but intense passage from childhood to adulthood, girls and boys come to express an interior chaos through their painted adornments: tiny imaginary characters, witches and demons, overflowing vegetation and carnivorous plants, a disturbing and visionary echo of the inhabited minds of adolescents. If these paintings carry a cultural heritage, which shapes and uplifts us, they are transformed into wild adornment for these young people with the emotion and violence that the artists of the past were able to transmit with the patience and delicacy of ‘a silversmith and the fantasy of a daydreamer.


Elene Usdin

Born in 1971, Elene Usdin graduated from the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris in 1996. Working first as an illustrator and film decorator, she regularly publishes her images in newspapers and magazines. Visual artist, illustrator and photographer, since 2002 she has been developing artistic work of great delicacy with precision and lightness. Women are the favorite subject of her series, with an approach that plays with gender and stereotypes. Elene Usdin does not hesitate to stage herself, in self-portraits between derision, homage to the great female figures of history and inspiration found in fairy tales. Rewarded in 2006 with the Picto prize for young fashion photography and in 2008 by the International Photo Awards, her first monograph, Stories, was published in 2013 by Contrejour editions. In 2014, the Museum of New Art in Detroit presented a major retrospective exhibition of her work: Awake While I Am Dreaming. Her latest series, Les Inhabitants, combines portraits of adolescents and tributes to the great masters of painting, which become unique and spectacular painted photographs.


Les Mesnographies – Edition # 1

From September 11 to October 3, 2021

  • Free exhibition
  • Free photo studios on weekends by appointment
  • Free visits on weekends by appointment
  • Free workshops for children on weekends by appointment

In the Mesnuls municipal park

13 Grande Rue

78490 Les Mesnuls


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