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Exhibition Reviews

Edwynn Houk Gallery’s Pioneering Exhibition of Valérie Belin’s Work: A Must-See



If you’re seeking a blend of contemporary artistic talent and innovative exploration of reality and imagination, then the latest exhibition at the Edwynn Houk Gallery is your destination. The globally premiering “Heroes” (2022) by Valérie Belin, alongside selections from her “Modern Royals” series (2020), offer viewers an exquisite delve into the world of imaginative portraiture from 20th April to 17th June 2023.

Belin, renowned for pushing boundaries and blurring lines between reality and the imaginary, outdoes herself in her latest series, “Heroes”. Comprising seven large-scale color photographs, this series presents young models painted in theatrical and mime-inspired makeup set against digitally created backdrops. These images draw heavily from American thriller culture, infusing elements of cinema, entertainment, and nightlife to enhance the intensity and depth of each piece. The intricate makeup, first sketched and then applied, lends a mask-like artificiality to the models’ faces, adding another layer to the unfolding narrative. The graphic elements of the makeup coincide with the elements in the background, firmly establishing the models as central figures of their respective scenes.

Valérie Belin, Lady Killer, 2022, Archival pigment print; Courtesy the Edwyn Houk Gallery

Sharing space with “Heroes” are three arresting photographs from Belin’s earlier series, “Modern Royals”. Drawing inspiration from fashion and news magazine covers, this series features multiple personalities embodied by a single model. Each portrait, with varying dress, pose, and demeanor, assumes an individual persona set against a backdrop of neon signage and motifs borrowed from American comic books. The combined effect offers viewers a paradoxical impression of individuality coexisting with collective similarity.

Valérie Belin, Portrait of Gaby, 2020, Archival pigment print; Courtesy the Edwyn Houk Gallery

The pairing of these two series in a single exhibition provides an exceptional opportunity to observe the evolution of Belin’s work, as well as her ongoing exploration of reality’s boundaries and the imaginary realms she conjures. This display is not just a mere presentation of art but an exploration into the depth of an artist’s imaginative journey.

For further details and press images, Julie Castellano stands ready to assist.

The Edwynn Houk Gallery’s exhibition offers more than just a look into Belin’s work – it presents a unique chance to observe and appreciate the progressive development of one of contemporary photography’s most compelling artists. Do not miss the opportunity to experience this first-hand. It’s not just a feast for the eyes, but food for the soul.

Visit the Edwynn Houk Gallery at and let Valérie Belin’s art transport you to a world where reality and imagination become one.