Drawing on the borders of abstraction: first monograph, conceived as an artist's book, produced in close collaboration with Léa Belooussovitch, as close to the aesthetics of her felt pen drawings.
This publication reflects Léa Belooussovitch's unique approach to drawing through around thirty artworks created freehand, using coloured pencil on white textile felt. The artist reinterprets photographs of a violent nature, taken from the media, using a lengthy process. Her approach breathes new life into these photographs by bringing out the element of humanity remaining in them.
Léa Belooussovitch's drawings are made through a single protocol. She starts by selecting images in the press or on the Internet that assail us daily, relating to dramatic current events: attacks in Pakistan, scenes from the war in Syria, and so on. The artist focuses on the representation of anonymous wounded or vulnerable victims. Léa Belooussovitch subjects these source images to various manipulations (reframing, enlargement) before transferring them to the felt medium. This slow and repetitive task of accumulation of the lines in coloured pencil alters the sleek aspect of the material and confers a downy texture to it. The forms that emerge are colourful halos that scramble recognition of the scene. In this transition from pixel to pigment, the sharpness of the initial image is thus transformed into a blurry drawing that seems to contain and attenuate the pain of the representation under its surface. The title of each artwork nevertheless anchors the drawing within reality by situating the city, the country, and the date of the tragic event. As for the white strip of the felt left untouched at the top of the design, it suggests the reframing undertaken from the original photograph. Through this scrambling of bearings and distanciation of violence, Léa Belooussovitch interpellates us as much in terms of our relation to information as to voyeurism, while activating our imaginations. The aesthetic and sensitive or even sensual character of her drawings dissimulates the presence/absence of humans confronted by atrocities and the upheavals of the contemporary world beneath a veil of modesty. This approach aims to demonstrate the extent to which, in the artist's words, “the violence of the information has overtaken from the humanity that the event contains.”
Published on the occasion of Léa Belooussovitch's exhibiton at musée d'Art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Étienne Métropole, from April 1, to August 15, 2021.
Born 1989 in Paris, Léa Belooussovitch lives and works in Brussels.