Vee Speers’ most recent work Phoenix, is a powerful and evocative story about women. Never afraid to push the boundaries, Speers takes us on an emotional journey with portraits and landscapes that are at once nostalgic and contemporary, hues faded, marking the passage of time.
Like some kind of illusion that seems suspended in the memories of a dramatic event, hope rises like a phoenix from the ashes.
At once powerful and vulnerable, Speers’ portraits are timeless symbols of transformation between life and loss and the renaissance of a new identity. The women of Phoenix are styled against the backdrop of an imperfect world, empowered with strength and emotion.
For the last part of this trilogy, Speers invents her own Dystopia, speaking directly of a world that has come unhinged. Yet even if the sun goes cold and fear is present, her imagery speaks of freedom. The concerns, troubles and every existing fear cross like arrows the bodies of these young and empowered men and women. No fixed identities, no determined genders., the characters are heroes, shamans, fighters who appear invincible. They seem to come straight out of some madness, a circus or a poem, from a distant past or from the future. Maybe they come from a new mythology, from Mad Max or from a Tim Burton movie. This series is the end of a cycle as Speers brings a story which started ten years ago to a conclusion. A story for which she took photos of children for The Birthday Party then six years later, with those same children in the midst of their adolescence for Bulletproof. Dystopia is the last act of this beautiful story.
In her series Bulletproof, Speers photographs the Birthday Party children 6 years later. Each and every one, in their manner and their costume, is invincible. Each and every one holds the reins, dictates the rules., Speers has already photographed this band of heroes and heroines, has already had them play roles, against the same grey wall when they were children. Since then, things have changed. Their bodies have taken shape, become bigger, stronger. There faces too, they have transformed and refined. Speers leads her characters toward imaginary realms, playgrounds and places where these characters will always remain, no matter what happens, armed and victorious."
Birthday Party, 2007
In her iconic series The Birthday Party, Speers eternalises the innocence of childhood with timeless portraits that are at once hauntingly beautiful and provocative. She dresses, styles and sometimes masks her characters, creating enigmatic stories to blur the line between reality and fiction and highlighting our need to escape into fantasy. Speers succeeds in choreographing characters that offer allegorical glimpses into life, triggering memories of our own childhood and exploring emotions which are part of an imperfect world.
Cette image est issue de la série Botanica. Comme Robert Mapplethorpe, Vee Speers conçoit ses portraits de fleurs comme des respirations, des parenthèses dans un monde toujours plus animé. Botanica est un jardin secret que l'artiste cultive tranquillement, loin de la vie quotidienne. Elle photographie les fleurs comme s'il s'agissait de portraits de personnes, lui permettant de faire ressortir la personnalité de chacune d'entre elles. Fidèle au film argentique, elle numérise ses tirages noir-et-blancs pour les coloriser subtilement sans rechercher le réalisme, apportant des teintes qui évoquent un nouveau souffle de vie.