Agnès Varda: Portraits brisés et Mer calme

5 June - 17 July 2010 Charles Decoster - Brussels

Galerie Nathalie Obadia is very pleased to organize the first exhibition of Agnès Varda in Brussels.

The exhibition at the gallery from June 5 to July 17, 2010 presents a set of 18 "Broken Portraits", which are for Agnès Varda "particular portraits because they are fragmented or split to escape a little from the smooth representation of faces".
A self-portrait completes the series as well as 2 broken mirrors offered to visitors.
At the top of the staircase a maritime installation on the theme of fragments will welcome visitors


"Fragile faces, trembling souls, fragmented moments, shattered windows, stars of shards of glass, I offer broken portraits, shot on glass or mirror.
The enigma of each face is only more present because it is multiplied.

Two exploded mirrors are presented to visitors.

Itʼs a shifted way of looking at others or an allegory of the puzzle that every human being is: it is up to us to recompose a face with all the little pieces of the puzzle. Going from the complicated to the simple."


"Itʼs naturally - I mean without the convenient transformations one can do with Photoshop - that this series was created.

Iʼve suggested to the models that they look at themselves in mirrors broken with a hammer, or in small loose mirrors, thatʻs the case for me, or hold a piece of mirror close to their face. In some positions the mirror mocks common sense, it reproduces a part of the model, sometimes it also proposes a face - profile reading of the face. Between projects, trials, chance and variations, Iʼai gathered a small series that mixes faces damaged by life, others that the shooting has transformed, others finally, not broken, but expressing the absence and that were chosen to become the mirror of the visitors.
A plaster cast of the face of the famous Inconnue de la Seine was attacked with a screwdriver and a hammer on a snowy day...

These portraits, executed in 2009 and 2010, were all printed in 40/40 centimeter format, except for the self-portrait, on glass or paper or mirrors. At the time of the framing done at the studio, some of the glass was purposely broken or diamond cut and then... protected by smooth, non-reflective glass."


"Calm sea...but you can see that this is not the stark horizon of a peaceful ocean in cinemascope, nor the microscopic detail of a sea foam in good weather.
No, it moves and pitches and rolls, itʼs simply a bit of calm sea in kaleidoscope.

All it takes is one mirror, several fragments of mirrors, for the most peaceful of seas to shatter into pieces, into shards of waves.... and make us seasick.
A quiet, diffracted ocean, itʼs a different kind of storm.
This sea is not dismantled, it is only broken down, but itʼs a calm sea nonetheless.

A. V. June 2010

During the lʼexhibition, several films by Agnès Varda will be shown at the Cinematek Flagey Cultural Center, Brussels, including the following three films that will be presented and/or followed by a discussion with Agnès Varda:

Thursday June 3 6pm Les plages dʼAgnès
Friday, June 4 8pm Jacquot de Nantes
Sunday, June 6 4pm The 100 and 1 Nights