Close your eyes and feel. Feel your heart pumping blood. Feel it flowing through your blood vessels, bringing oxygen and nutrients, feeding your muscles and organs. Feel the air caressing your skin, following the curves of your body. We rarely take the time to connect with our body and observe its intricate details and functions.
One of the largest organs of the human body, skin acts like a protective barrier. It is the first place of interaction with others. Skin creates a limit between an invisible interior, which we sometimes want to silence or to show, and an exterior, which inevitably displays itself but doesn’t necessarily reflect who we are inside. Whether we like it or not, our skin doesn’t always hide what is going on inside. It can betray us showing indications of stress, anxiety and emotion.
French artist Laure Forêt explores the human body and its organs, looking into the transparency, texture, and porosity of our skin, amused by the idea of intimacy. A fascinating concept for her as our entire body is in fact filled by a series of tubes and pores, which are going through us and makes us absorb everything and anything. From the body, to the skin, to the organs, Laure digs up our insides and turns them into works of art.
Laure first started drawing when she was 12 years old. There were moments in her life where words were too complex and drawing was easier. Her work started to appeal to people and she was encouraged to develop this art further. By the age of 18, Laure joined a School of Fine Arts in her native Brittany where she could test and refine her techniques. However, it is during her 4th year of studies that she saw her art flourish as she pursued her studies for a year in Antwerp. She completely fell in love with the city and it is during that year that she realized she really wanted to become an artist.
After returning to France to finish her master’s degree, she immediately came back to Antwerp to settle down and start her career. As you can probably imagine, becoming an artist and being able to live from it is easier said than done. But, one thing leading to another, she gradually started to make her place in the art sphere.
A work of art doesn’t create itself on it own, it takes a lot of time to think, get inspired and start to create. Laure likes to talk about the artistic process behind every piece she creates and how she gets her inspiration from her daily life. It is important for her to let people know that artists are not gods and masterpieces don’t appear out of thin air. It takes a lot of time and dedication. Since 2005, Laure has been making one drawing a day, every single day. At this moment she has over 40 books filled with her creations!
Three years ago, she felt like adding volume to her drawings and make them more present into space. To do so, she first decided to reproduce, on a much larger scale, one of her drawings by hand-embroidering it on tulle. The result after framing and hanging it down the ceiling was absolutely stunning! It was an eye opening experience for her. From then on, she kept her theme around the skin and the human body, but she started to decentralize the importance of drawing and shifted her attention to other mediums.
From drawing to embroidering, sewing, embossing, making paper volumes and working her way around stained glass windows, Laure is very passionate about her work and doesn’t hesitate to get out of her comfort zone. Her art keeps on evolving and she always aims to surprise her public. At this moment she loves to create links between human and vegetal worlds because a lot of things are in fact very similar. She loves to bring people to see and think outside of the box and create dichotomous views around her work. Certain things, which you can find in nature, can be strongly linked to behaviours or visuals in the human anatomy.
Laure is part of Eva Steynen.Deviation(s) galerie’s permanent artists, based in Antwerp and representing Belgian and international emerging artists. Until the end of the month you can see new pieces from her amongst the work of other artists. One very intriguing work shown for the first time is a textile sculpture called “Ce qui demeure”. It portrays skin as if it would be removed from the body and hooked from the ceiling. Her inspiration came both from the early human body anatomy discoveries from the 16th century and also from the work of Lili Dujourie. The way she presents this work is also related to the idea of hiding and revealing, symbolized by draperies in Renaissance paintings. Another work she is showing, “Cellules”, depicts a microscopic view of a skin cell made out of a stained glass.
Not only showing her work in Antwerp, I invite you to follow Laure throughout her various exhibitions in Belgium and France. You can also check out the evolution of her art via her Facebook and Instagram pages. If you happen to see her, don’t hesitate to start a conversation, as she is very enthusiastic to share insights about her art!
The Art Connector