“If I had a religion, my divinity without a doubt would be a woman!” Yves Saint Laurent
The contemporary French artist Cécile Plaisance acknowledges and accepts the same divinity as Yves Saint Laurent throughout her body of work, using the means of hologram and photography in order to do so. She continuously explores the notions of identity, societal pressures and religious constraints which fundamentally affect women, as well as society in general. All these factors culminate in the roles that we play both privately and publicly; dictated by forces such as religion, fashion, childhood as well as our community’s expectations of behaviour and function.
Cécile Plaisance rose to prominence with her ‘Barbie Series’, which were very much inspired by the posed works of Helmut Newton and his femmes fatales set in luxury hotel bedrooms. Here, the dolls posed as if they were real women on holiday, on yachts, about to board a helicopter and gracing the covers of various magazines. At times, the dolls are so perfectly integrated into their environment that the line between reality and fantasy is blurred, making one question exactly what Barbie is symbolic of in the works- all women, an idealized woman, femininity, arrested development, childhood? Perhaps all of the above, albeit all are staged with a touch of whimsy. Within her body of work Plaisance also explores the roles that dolls, such as Barbies play in our childhood and thus the impact that they have on us as adults.
Citing the influence of Pop artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Keith Haring, Jasper Johns and more recently- Julian Opie, Plaisance examines these standard clichés of women/dolls-as-objects, by employing real life models for her shoots. However, a single image did not prove the ideal means to convey the message of the complex and multifarious nature of women. Thus, as an ode to femininity, as well as the artist’s wish to show that “…beyond differences in clothes, culture and lifestyles women aspire to live their multiple lives fully and intensely”, Plaisance started using holograms or lenticular lens, as her predominant medium. Holograms epitomise the artist’s directive of apparent simplicity, yet invisible complexity. This complexity is analyzed within her body of work through the lens of various environmental influences: fashion, religion, childhood play and the like.
After graduating with a MA diploma from Paris Dauphine University, the artist went on to work in the European Financial markets for 10 years. However, Plaisance started to pursue her true passion- photography, when she settled in Brussels in 2008. Upon graduating Contrast Art School with a focus upon photography and Photoshop, she received critical acclaim for her end-of-year exhibition. Since, she has been scholastically well received, as Cécile Plaisance’s portfolio won first prize in Photo Magazine’s 2018 competition. Furthermore, she has gained commercial success as well, as her works are part of a number of important collections from the King of Morocco, in addition to the collection of Jo Malone, CEO of her eponymous brand, to name but a few.
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