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Fragile adolescent beauty: Vee Speers photographs on view at Galerie Huit, Arles
Vee Speers eternalizes this moment of fragile adolescent beauty.

ARLES.- A young, bare-chested sailor, his hands in the pockets of his white pants. His skin is smooth, pale, perfect. The nose is straight, the lips flush. Underneath the cap, his hair is short, black, strong. He is looking to the East; life lies before him. His beauty is unfathomable, sublime because it will last but an instant – a few months, maybe a few hours.

Vee Speers eternalizes this moment of fragile adolescent beauty. She photographs the time before first loss, the time of childhood. She captures this in the bodies and faces. And she creates a world layered upon a world, of characters upon children who are no longer children. She dresses, styles, costumes, sometimes masks them. (...)

Each and every one, in their manner and in their costume, is invincible. Each and every one holds the reins, dictates the rules. All is done. Certainly, Vee Speers has already photographed this band of heroes and heroines, has already had them play roles, against the same grey wall, six years earlier, when the adolescents were nothing more than children. Children who had just left a birthday party, dressed in their disguises of the little raven, the dancer in the tutu, the wounded boxer, the doll killer.« (Julie Estève)

Vee Speers (b. 1962 in Australia) is based in Paris, working in fashion, photojournalism and fine art photography. Her work has been in exhibitions worldwide, and is in many international collections, e. g. the George Eastman House, Rochester, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the DZ Bank, Frankfurt / M.

Galerie Huit is situated in a late 17th century mansion, in the historical town centre of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Arles. Photographs, paintings, sculptures and ‘objets de désir’ are displayed in the unusual salon settings of this atmospheric exhibition space.

Founded by author/curator Julia de Bierre in 2007, the gallery has acquired a solid reputation for its careful selection of artists – both established and emerging – and the quality and originality of its hangings or installations. Exhibitions are mounted either independently or in collaboration – partners have included the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, (2009) and Editions Gallimard, France (2010).

The scale of the mansion provides rich and varied exhibition spaces, including an intimate 18th century salon with gilded panelling, a spacious high-ceilinged ‘grande salle’ with terrazzo floors, an ancient vault, whitewashed for a contemporary feel and an inner courtyard, ideal for projections.

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