Bettina RHEIMS

Bettina Rheims’ photographic career began in 1978, when she took a series of photos of a group of strip-tease artists and acrobats, which would lead to her first exhibitions. This work would unveil Bettina Rheims’ favourite subject, the female model, to which she would frequently return during her career. “I love the flesh. I am a photographer of the skin"

The 1980s provided Bettina Rheims with the opportunity to take several portraits of both famous and unknown women, resulting in the publication of Female Trouble (1989)

In 1982, the Animal series enabled her to train her lens on another form of nudity: that of stuffed animals with fixed stares, “which seemed to want to express something beyond death”.“I had to capture their gaze” declared the photographer.

With Modern Lovers[5] (1989-1990) [note] the photographer questioned gender, androgyny and transsexuality. Two other publications on the same subject followed: Les Espionnes (1992) and Kim (1994).

In 2002, Bettina Rheims created a series on Shanghai during two long stays in the city. “The first impressions of a traveller arriving in Shanghai are those of people with deep-rooted ancestral rituals and traditions who threw themselves into the frenetic race of the present-day world. Blending into this ‘other way of thought’ and without any prejudices, Bettina Rheims offers us a novel view of this paradox, which is the coexistence of China with its millenary traditions, its avant-garde facet, its official aspects and its underground features.[9]

In 2005, at the Galerie De Noirmont, Bettina Rheims exhibited Héroïnes, a work that was primarily a homage to sculpture. On this occasion, the photographer collaborated with the designer Jean Colonna [note interne W] to dress the women in original clothing. “Old haute couture dresses were thus re-assembled on each of these contemporary icons. These women, with their unconventional beauty, then played with a stone, which for a moment became their pedestal.”

At the end of the 2000s, Bettina Rheims worked with Serge Bramly again and exhibited Rose, c’est Paris in 2010 at the National Library of France. The photographic tale was again built on a thread of fiction that Bettina Rheims and Serge Bramly created from autobiographical elements. In this work, Paris plays “the role of the muse more than the subject, and [appears], through the characters woven into a story, in an almost allegorical form. A young woman we know by her initial, B., is looking for Rose, her twin sister who she claims has disappeared. Presented as a ‘great mysterious series’, a genre held dear by surrealists, Rose, c’est Paris is divided into thirteen episodes in which we discover among other things an unusual or obscure Paris, which is voluntarily timeless.”