Valérie Hallier


Portraiture, as the existential need to render a unique human experience, is an ancient and universal art form that reflects each time period’s social and artistic practices. I am fascinated by the form and its evolution. Through visualizing, serializing or exhausting autobiographical data and shared experiences, such as screaming and sexuality, my work redefines portraiture in the forms of mixed-media series, installations and interactive public art. Each body of work creates a multi-sensorial vocabulary that reveal current power dynamics between our human condition, our environment and the tools we create. 

My practice blends craft, digital technologies and traditional artistic techniques to reflect on the tensions and the connections between the natural and the virtual worlds. How do we fit in as humans? Process oriented and time intensive, the techniques deployed are often repetitive, such as working frame by frame in animation, coding or when using large numbers of beads or flower petals. The tight balance of control, between power and constraint, as well as personal ritualistic processes and systematization guide my practice. I work to merge in new ways, my interest for natural materials and new technologies in order to imagine new scenarios on being. 

In-between nature and culture, human-altered and symbolically potent, flowers in my work speak of our connection and disconnection with the natural world and with our own human nature, its carnal and finite qualities. Flowers also allude to femininity, resilient and fragile. I grow or recycle flowers, press the petals then glue each one in place using varnish.  

Beads are another recurrent material. They are a physical manifestation of the pixels we are surrounded by, a reverse extension from digital to physical. They symbolize the crafty nature of technology, creating content and ornaments. I also use digital technologies as tools and as objects when working with animation, video projections, software applications and databases. They record, sort, render and translate while I observe, edit, use and process. These ubiquitous technologies are questioned in my work as they convey a narrative, ornate a piece and become an interface between the viewer and the world. Recycled materials such as plastics and paper are used to build structures. Jewelry and other found objects contribute to the narrative and the aesthetic of each piece. 

Using varied forms and mediums keeps the notions of portrait and self-portrait relevant as a way to merge my experience with my subjects. These explorations address specific themes such as our image-based culture in “Eyes of My Skin”, sexuality in the context of consent in “Défloré(e)s” and the release of control in “ScreamNow”. I use sound, space, textures, scents, recorded stories and interactivity, to stimulate the senses beyond the visual and offer new ways to connect with ourselves and our environment. Each project describes conceptually, with figurative or abstract forms, a contemporary persona/character. By emulating natural and digital processes, and by exposing my own obsessive practices, my work explores the tension between a humanistic and a mechanistic sense of being. 


© Valérie Hallier 2021