These women around me do not always tell the truth.
Like a scream in the night, they once arose in my dreams and asked me to release them. They undressed in front of me but kept their masks on. They whispered words wrapped in Ostrich feathers, in confetti and white laces. They invited me to magical and chilling places. And they reminded me of my childhood.
This series explores the status of women through the prism of folklore myths. Seven images that tell the saga of women in my family ostracized by society. A time when only what people say was more important than self-realisation. This story of women put under the extinguisher by social conventions has something universal.
Binche (small town in southern Belgium) is the stronghold of my family and folklore in Northern Europe. This carnival is the only one in Europe that is genuinely attached to the most ancient sources of our countries. In the eyes of ancient myths, the woman has no say or, more precisely, nothing that can be said. Excluded from the ritual, the woman is excluded and reduced to a sexual and mysterious object. This is where the two stories intersect: the individual speech (family story) and the collective discourse (Myths and folklore). This aesthetic one, is a ‘once upon a time’ tale that reassures by displaying fiction. These are paintings made with some photographic technique whose often cruel accuracy is tempered through cinematic effects. Despite this heavy implementation, the choice of the still image is clear, even determined for its power and also probably for its ability of reminiscence.
About the Artist
Through her series, Bénédicte Vanderreydt explores different levels of constructions of female identity from adolescence to adulthood while considering the successive roles that women are able to embody: child, wife, mistress, mother.
Each of her projects meets a singular aesthetics where the place of the staging is strong. Revisiting with extremely cinematic images that haunt the viewer for a long time. She questions the permanence of certain ancestral rites of passage in our contemporary societies like the carnival in her series I Never Told Anyone. Social networks, various facts and family mythology are often the starting point of her photographic reflections but the photographer is not limited to the transcription of a reality but constantly seeking to sublimate it, to interpret it.
Nourished by her theatrical training, her work redoubles the illusionistic power of masks- those that are being created in social networks, those with whom we dress at the Binche carnival for example – being flush with the mystery of the characters, as a silent link reminiscent of paintings by Paul Delvaux. Heloise Conesa – Director of engravings, and Photography Department – BNF (Bibliothèque François Mitterrand, Paris). Graduated from the IHECS University in Brussels and then from the drama school Xavi Gratacos in Barcelona, Bénédicte Vanderreydt eventually deepened her knowledge in photography at Gobelins School in Paris.