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- Hélène Amouzou
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- Autoportraits (1)
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Born in Togo in 1969, Hélène Amouzou has been living in Brussels for the last fourteen years. In 2004 she enrolled at the Academy of Drawing and Visual Arts in the city's Molenbeek-Saint-Jean neighbourhood, where she studied video and photography. In 2008 she opted for photography as the medium best suited to her artistic research and technical experiments.
These self-portraits date from the artist's study years: a compulsory exercise she approached with reservations, but one which turned out to be accurately attuned to her state of mind and personal situation at the time. More precisely, the series was created when she was seeking asylum in Belgium, a two-year process during which she felt stigmatised and excluded.
Taken in an attic, the photos show her both dressed and undressed. Intimacy is created here with a use of blur: not just for her body, but as a suggestion of fleeting presence conjured up by a dress or a suitcase. Her vanishing body and luggage convey notions of journey, transit, and limbo of the status of so-called illegal immigrants, uprooted and unsure of what tomorrow will bring. All this fragility is here in these images.
Hélène Amouzou prefers to work with film, which she sees as demanding greater attention to detail and allowing greater scope for serendipity than digital photography. Her style resembles that of Francesca Woodman, whom she acknowledges as an influence, along with Duane Michals, Albert Dürer and Francis Bacon: "Self-portrait is a way of writing without words," she explains. "My aim is to reveal the deepest parts of myself." And so she continues to write a story exploring invisibility, cultural background and identity.