Untitled, mixed media on paper, 220 x 320 cm, 2008

From September 10 to October 22, 2011 – Galerie Aliceday

Charlotte Beaudry (b. 1968, Huy, Belgium) is a contemporary Belgian painter. Her paintings and drawings are figurative, but not realistic. In pursuit of her contemporary and radical vision of a certain femininity, Charlotte Beaudry evokes the turbulence of an unstable emotional universe, putting her androgynous teenager models through a choreographic repertoire in a pictorial space. Charlotte Beaudry is represented by Aliceday, Brussels and Von Bartha Garage, Basel.

“She departs from photographs she makes herself or downloads from the internet. Usually Beaudry focuses on a certain idea she explores from the perspective of the painter in a series of works. She translates certain shapes and images in a personal style, highlighting particular aspects, revealing specific features and linking these with a certain atmosphere or emotion. Beaudry invariably depicts her subjects frontally, almost filling the entire composition. She never pays attention to situating the scene or the object — there is no room for the context. It is as if she zooms in on the meticulously chosen objects and presents a close-up of situations we never experience that close or from this perspective. By isolating the subjects and as it were portraying them, the artist raises questions about the status of images. It is as if she seeks to tell us something about the abstract character of images. By entirely eliminating the context, the message or the story about or behind the images, Beaudry apparently wants to emphasize their significance. Some of the images are reminiscent of michelangelo antonioni’s famous film Blow-up, in which a photographer becomes obsessed with a photograph. Seeking to find out what it is exactly that can be seen on the photograph, he blows up the image to such a scale that it no longer relates to reality. Similarly, Beaudry depicts reality on the canvas, recognizable and strange at the same time. Because of the isolation of the subjects, some of the images breathe a certain melancholy. a helmet, a megaphone, a bracelet or a catapult—their isolation lends them a certain sadness. Though Beaudry’s paintings are all autonomous, their meaning is often enhanced by relating them to other works that belong to the same series or period. The combination of images such as the catapult and the megaphone emphasize their connotation with aggression. They turn into metaphors of the human condition that refer to a sentiment of oppression, the longing to communicate or cry out. Still another series of smaller works zooms in on aspects of identity and the urge to be distinguish the self from the other. Six cups, of the sort awarded for winning a sports event, are portrayed in close-up. But unlike in the news, the winner is absent, and so is any reference to the meritorious act that is symbolized by the trivial metal cup. Yet another series zooms in on the ribbons awarded to the winners of beauty pageants. Beaudry’s paintings feature a fragment of a ribbon with a reference to the contestant’s country of origin, but the ribbon is depicted anonymously, against an abstract background. Five paintings of identical Buddhas, apart for the size, are arranged from large to small, like a series of interchangeable russian dolls that have lost their identity. Through the subjects depicted, the various paintings provide food for thought about news events, sporting achievements, top models, film stars, etc…”© Eva Wittocx

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