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Léa Nielsen, blurring boundaries

The Danish art and fashion photographer explores the subconscious and the transformations of our inner worlds in collages and hand-painted photographs that sublimate light between sensitivity, duality and poetry.

“You just have to shoot and shoot and shoot and never give up.” This is the guiding principle that Léa Nielsen never stops pursuing. This Danish virtuoso, who trained in Berlin, was destined for a career as a professional dancer until an injury forced her to change direction. Her first foray into the world of theatre, set and costume design was followed by studies at the School of Photography in Copenhagen. After assisting several fashion and art photographers in Denmark, Léa Nielsen took flight. Since then, she has forged a fine career path, collaborating with a number of French and international brands and magazines (Vogue, L’Officiel, T Magazine – The New York Times Style Magazine, The Telegraph, Les Echos).

Mixed Media

The photographer draws her influences from art, dance and architecture. Her works are beautiful visual escapes, deploying a subtle work of light, colour, framing and atmosphere, between sensitivity and poetry. Sketches are no longer at the heart of her creative process. The photographer captures images that she reuses later, including collage elements and graphic finishes. Her two most recent series, Utopia and Atlantic, mark a change of direction. “I started experimenting with this type of mixed media, but working with this method solely in a fashion context is too restrictive and I decided to embark on personal projects. There’s something about the timelessness of nude bodies and landscapes that perfectly evokes the theme of transformation.”

Inner Movements

Ink, rag paper, acrylic paint, Posca pen, Polaroid… these are the materials she manipulates in Atlantic. Here, Léa Nielsen questions her art, while continuing her exploration of inner worlds and strange dreams. The ocean reflects the emotional state and the subconscious: transforming and rising through layers of consciousness in an abstract, surreal landscape. Her blurred floral works underline all the power of these dreamlike visions in constant motion. 

“With Utopia, I used a lot of digital scans and collages, whereas for Atlantic, I managed to work more analogically, adding more paint, ink and so on. The approach is more tactile. Technically, it’s not easy to make the different materials work together. But I want to go in that direction, with more pictoriality and on a larger scale, because I’m getting closer to my goal.”

For Utopia precisely, she constructs between dream and reality visual poems about an imagined place or state of mind, with the sculptural female body as canvas. “Organic gestures are combined with geometric shapes and colours and juxtaposed with images of the forces of nature,” she explains. “Not seeking narrative, the person moves between layers of the subconscious, painting an image of inner, not outer, life.”  

With her deconstructed bodies, dreamlike landscapes and contrasts of colour and black & white, Léa Nielsen breathes new life into her surreal collages, inviting us to escape, sensuality and freedom.

Nathalie Dassa

leanielsen.com

Atlantic

Atlantic

Photo credits @ Léa Nielsen 

Model @ Friederike Engel 

Hair & makeup @ Ayoe Nissen 

Utopia 

Photo credits @ Léa Nielsen 

Model @ Amalie Rose 

Hair & makeup @ Jan Stuhr

Denmark – Copenhagen