Cécile Beau

Born in 1978, Lourdes. Lives and works in Paris.

Rooted in the mountainous landscapes of the Pyrenees, Cécile Beau’s artistic approach is bound to the perception and experience of a territory. On the edge of reality and fiction, her works disrupt the sense organs that usually allow us to analyze elements and set us among our environment.

The installation called Biale successively confuses our hearing and sight to put our sense mechanisms to the test. The soft murmur humming from Biale invites viewers to enter the very space of the work. The deafening whiteness of the inner space seems to vibrate the still indistinct sound and momentarily saturates our sight and hearing, before we may slowly recover them. Then, in the still shaky eyes of viewers, appears a series of photos of snowy landscapes, whose horizon finally represents a true panorama.

This device produces a mental geography originating an unreal situation of space and time. Taken in Poland, these photos capture a territory and the interaction inside it between atmospheric, geographic, human and cultural elements. But far from setting the viewers out of context, Cécile Beau proposes them to enter this new place of connivance, made of small yet numerous manipulations and changes of sounds and images, to create a space of poor fiction.

The fragmentation and levelling of the scales of perception, that can also be found in her photomontages called Xiezhen (“painting from life”), are not aimed at objectivizing territories altered by human activity. On the contrary, they are an experience created by the challenging of our own references. An attempt to define culture as a long-lasting revelation, beyond any narrative means.


Leslie Compan