Isabelle Arthuis (F), Marie-Noëlle Boutin (F), Elina Brotherus (Fin), Sari Ember (Hu), Isabelle Hayeur (Qc), Chantal Maes (B) Erika Vancouver (B)

25/06 - 28/09/2014

Stacks Image 68
Stacks Image 69
Stacks Image 70
Stacks Image 71
Stacks Image 72
Stacks Image 73
Stacks Image 74

In French
NL versie

Brussels unlimited – Collection Contretype
Seven female artists-in-residence

In 1997, Contretype began an artist-in-residence scheme as part of its overall objective to support and promote contemporary photographic art. The scheme was designed by Jean-Louis Godefroid to tackle the paucity of artistic residencies in Brussels, by inviting both Belgian and foreign photographers to live and work here. Of course, there was no requirement for these artists-in-residence to base their work on the city, but rather to take photos while they lived here. Thus, each artist-in-residence continued his or her work, complete with his or her uniquely personal preoccupations. In some cases, life in Brussels has served as a framework, in others as a stimulus and in others as the primary source of images.

The Contretype Collection is made up of images donated by the artists-in-residence to Contretype from among those created during their residencies. Today, the collection includes images created by almost 30 photographers and this is the first time they have been exhibited in Belgium. A smaller version of this exhibition toured France, Poland, Brazil and other countries in the mid-2000s, because the huge size and number of images was too large for the Hannon House (Contretype’s home in Brussels). Today, this barrier has been lifted, thanks to Contretype’s agreement with La Centrale, under its Director Carine Fol, and the Contretype Collection is being given the visibility it so richly deserves. This exhibition also allows us to pay homage to Jean-Louis Godefroid a little more than a year after he passed away, as well as to Contretype’s staff, who continue to develop and prepare it for the future.

This double exhibition is a significant milestone in the history of Contretype. The public can enjoy a thematic presentation of Contretype and its work at La Centrale, including images by all its artists-in-residence, while at the Hannon House, they can experience images by the seven female artists-in-residence up to 2012, which make more specific references to the overall theme of “Summer of Photography” by examining, among others, relationships between the sexes and female creativity.

Seven Female Artists-in-Residence presents some of the images created by the female photographers who were artists-in-residence, while at the same time other images by the same photographers also form part of the exhibition at La Centrale. They are: Elina Brotherus (Finland), Isabelle Arthuis (France), Isabelle Hayeur (Quebec, Canada), Chantal Maes (Belgium), Sari Ember (Hungary), Marie-Noëlle Boutin (France) and Erika Vancouver (Belgium). While the diverse subject matter is very obvious, there are also dialogues between the images. For example, between the images of tropism by Chantal Maes, and the images by Elina Brotherus. Chantal Maes examines the microscopic upheavals that occur in all living things and questions how infinitely thin layers are reconstituted, without finding an answer. In the same way, the screens of images of barriers invite viewers to go beyond their apparently uniform surfaces to notice the imperfections and crevices which become more apparent the longer you look at them. Elina Brotherus wanders outside Brussels seeking more open, new horizons, around the airport, among other places. The relationship with a model or a body, as representative objects that are looked at, is shown in her images by self-portraits and is also used by her to reprise the traditional gender models inherited from painting, reformulated by her through the medium of photography.

Sari Ember also uses the relationship between a model and a place as a means of identification which reveals aspects of their individuality. Her images personalise the environment and underline the uniqueness of each person, and therefore of each meeting captured in her images.

Marie-Noëlle Boutin concentrates on adolescents, and her images reveal the rituals, aesthetic codes and urban way of life of this particular cohort. The specificities of the transitional phase of adolescence allow her to link this transitory yet vital phase of life with the city-future, the unstable and unfinished character of all urban areas. This is also shown in the images of ruins created by Isabelle Hayeur. The phenomenon of construction and destruction is omnipresent in urban spaces and gives rise in her images to an extension of the notion of monumentality to all the manifestations of destruction, dilapidation or a return to the past which form a filter through which the historical layers of the city can be glimpsed.

This dimension has an echo in its relationship with memory, which is central to the photographic work of Erika Vancouver. By reviving long-forgotten memories, she chooses to return to the places where she spent her childhood, thus underlining how many individual human journeys and how many unique stories combine to form the memory of a city. While Erika Vancouver’s images rely on her life story, those of Isabelle Arthuis take viewers on a more fictional journey by bringing together stills from her film of the imagined wanderings of a man through Brussels.

It is clear that the diversity of approaches of these artists is not merely due to the fact that they are all women. Nevertheless, by bringing their work together, we can examine a specific category of photographers, and realise that they are in a minority, as is often the case for professional women. Just under a third of the photographs in the Contretype Collection were taken by women, which shows that there is still some way to go before equality is achieved in this creative field.

Danielle Leenaerts
Curator of the exhibition.

Exhibition coupled with


from 26/06 to 28/09/2014, at Centrale for Contemporary Arts
Curator: Danielle Leenaerts


During Summer of Photography 2014. Infos


Both exhibitions are related to Artists in Residence in Brussels programme, which Contretype started in 1997, and which continues in partnership with the Wallonie Brussels Federation and the Francophone Community Commission (COCOF)



Vous avez été nombreux à participer aux Propositions d’artistes 2014 organisées par Contretype. 64 dossiers furent soumis à l’analyse des membres du Jury. Voici les résultats ...


Nos coups de coeur disponibles à l'Art Shop de Contretype, ici


Votre soutien est essentiel pour nous aider à poursuivre nos activités. Nos propositions...


Appels à projets, concours, résidences d'artistes, annonces, cliquez ici…