Charlotte Beaudry: a Lifelike Seduction

28.11.2014 - Dries Tack

If Charlotte Beaudry was sidelined from the art market for a number of years, it was only to focus and complete her artistic practice. Her deep investment was quickly rewarded by a series of major exhibitions including solo shows in museums such as the Wiels in Brussels and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków. Her provocative figuration, balanced by a subtle detachment, can leave the viewer puzzled but not indifferent.

What is your training? None. I am a Self-taught. I stopped school the day of my 18th birthday and began to paint in my room doing copies of great masters like Fernand Léger. I worked also one year in London with my brother who had a studio of trompe-l’œil and fresco painting. At that time faux marble and faux wood were very trendy. Back in Belgium, this traineeship allowed me to make good money. I worked for years on my artistic project without anything to show for it. I had no contacts with the art market due to my lack of educational path and strategy. But my first show was a successful one.

Could you describe your pictorial process? I try to bring reality out of the frame and to isolate some fragment of it. I use a camera as a “second eye.” Photographs or films are more objective and can provide some distance with the subject. This distance gives me an artistic process for creating a painting or a drawing. I depict my subject frontally and without any context to create a direct impact. The close ups I depict are usually also oversized to invite the viewer into a dialogue.

Women figures and especially teenagers are an important part in your work? Indeed. I undertook a project called « Mademoiselle 19 ». I took pictures and videos of an acquaintance from 13 to 19 years old. The idea was to depict an androgynous and anonymous young girl who moves into the pictorial space with different poses and attitudes. Sometimes she even tries to escape the frame of the painting. I ended this project with a video in which I replayed the scenes of Masculin Feminin by Jean-Luc Godard, where Jean-Pierre Léaud interviews young women about love and politics. With an actor playing his role we asked the same questions to five 19 year old girls. The aim was to compare the girls yesterday and today.

What is your next exhibition? I have a solo show named Pussy Bow at the Yoko Uhoda gallery in Liège next week. This project deals with feminine seduction, a regular subject in my work. I painted a series of bows, skirts, and jewels: an evocative iconography with a manifest ambiguity. The challenge I tried to take up was to integrate my paintings into the mansion style architecture of the gallery. For example I used tailor made oval canvases. People have to be seduced by the space as a whole. Helena Heukeshoven for Belgian Boutique 2014