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Combining the tools of photography with the gesture of painting, the work of this Belgian artist is both seductive and disconcerting. A wonderful discovery for the Galerie des Filles du Calvaire, which is devoting its first solo show to her in France with a magnificent series of photographs on canvas, the result of an encounter with dancers. 

From the painting she learned at the Luca School in Brussels, Lore Stessel has kept the support – canvas – and the gesture – the one by which she applies (on fabric) the gelatin-silver emulsion that reveals the images. As for the rest (recording the images on film, developing them and printing them), it’s all photography – a practice she learned at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Photographie in Arles. The blend of processes is all the richer and more eloquent when applied to a choreography: as if the fluidity of the gesture applying the revealing emulsion to the brush wanted to match that of bodies in motion, in order to render their ephemeral beauty with the utmost accuracy.

There’s a great power and delicacy, but also a great sincerity that emanates from these shots, in which the figures, concentrated on their movements, don’t pose… All in tension, these bodies are crying out for truth. A truth that is both very much of our time – the dancers, dressed in shorts and T-shirts, are very much of our time – and timeless – thanks to the use of black and white. 

Beauty here rhymes with emotion, contained in every gesture, every movement of hands, arms, legs or feet, every twist or collision. Poetry of the gang is the title of several shots in the series, showing intertwined bodies evoking love, struggle or hope…: “a subtle multiplicity of feelings”, in the words of the artist who already said, at the 2012 Planche(s) Contact Festival in Deauville, where she was spotted as a “Young Talent”: “Photographs metamorphose. They lie between dream and reality, light and shadow, movement and fixity.”


Born in 1987, Lore Stessel lives and works in Brussels.


“Lore Stessel. Vague” 

Till 20th December

Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire 

17, rue des Filles du Calvaire, Paris III

France – Paris