Since her first photographs in the late ’70s, Bettina Rheims
has defied the predictable. From her series on Pigalle strippers (1980) to her cycle on the life of Jesus in I.N.R.I.
(1998), from Chanel commercials to Gender Studies
(2011), her work has shaken up traditional iconography and pushed restlessly at the breaking point between two great human preoccupations: beauty and imperfection.
This limited Art Edition pairs the pigment print Marthe en guêpière
, February 1987, Paris,
with a volume of more than 500 photographs from 35 years of daring, often defiant, photography
. Personally selected and assembled by Rheims, the collection juxtaposes renowned series such as Chambre Close
with many previously unpublished archival pictures. A companion volume assembles press cuttings, behind-the-scenes material, and personal memories to trace her illustrious career.
Spanning commercial work and artistic series
, the retrospective impresses with each turn of the page, as much for the vigor of each image as for the thrilling variety of Rheims’s subjects and aesthetics: fresh faces next to furrowed brows, elephant hides beside legs in lace stockings, flawless fashion shots alongside chipped nail polish and scarred skin. With equal attention to anonymous subjects cast in the street as to such global beauty stars as Kate Moss, Madonna, Monica Bellucci, Claudia Schiffer,
and Naomi Campbell
, the book showcases Rheims’s particular interest in female fragility and strength, and of the magic encounter between model and the artist which disrupts codes of so-called eroticism to build up a new image system for womanhood
.Limited Art Edition of 100 signed and numbered copies, each with the print Marthe en guêpière, February 1987, Paris. Inkjet print on Harman Gloss paper, signed and dated by photographer Bettina Rheims on the back (No. 101–200).
Also available in a second Art Edition with the C-print Lara, January 2008, Paris, signed by Bettina Rheims (No. 1–100) and in a Collector's Edition (No. 201–1,000).