Introducing : Laure Forêt

Hi Laure, could you talk a little bit about yourself?

Yes, I’m Laure Foret, I’m 31 years old and I’m an artist based in Antwerp but I was born in France. I’m currently working around a big theme that I call “the skin”. I make drawings and embroideries that you can see here at Ithaka but I also do multiple other things like collages and some animated movies. The theme is this question of the skin, the skin has a border between the inside and the outside. Between what’s in me and what’s shown to others, what I try to hide and what others can see. Sometimes it’s about what I try to hide but appears on my skin because it’s not always controllable, like when you blush but you don’t want to blush but its still happening. So everyday I draw, and the drawings you can see in the exhibition are a result of this daily practice. Every day I make at least one drawing, and through that daily practice the other works come out, the drawings, embroideries..

 © Kimberly Hoskens 

So what you’re showing at Ithaka are your drawings that evolved from these daily drawings but there is also this huge embroidery…

Yes I started making drawings about what’s happening inside our bodies and especially the digestive system. It’s connected to something that I always have been fascinated about and it’s the fact that we have 8 meters inside ourselves of circumvolutions and tubes. So I decided, you work on the skin, you work on this equation of the inside, why not showing what’s happening inside. I decided to do this embroidery. I wanted to make something on the scale 1 so it’s a real size digestive system, but because it’s curbed the result of the work is three by one meter. What I wanted to do is to give back the nobility of this organ that is crossing us, I was always very interested by this idea of what’s happening inside. Sometimes I would really like to, I don’t know for you, but I would like to be able to open it up to see what the hell is happening.

 © Kimberly Hoskens 

What I really like about your work is that it’s very poetic even if you show organs

Yes, I read a book just when I started these works, from a famous writer but I can’t recall the name anymore, she made a book about intestines. And first you might think what the hell is this subject, because we have this idea that this organ is pretty disgusting because everything passes through there, but actually it’s a pretty clean organ that is soft and smooth. I was starting to think, I want to do this, to play with the idea that this organ that is badly considered, I want to make it sublime, I want to show how beautiful it can be and how beautiful it is. For me that is what art is in a way, being able to transform something disgusting in something beautiful. There is a poem of Baudelaire La Charogne, where he describes an animal that is dying with all the disgusting things that come with it, but he creates a beautiful poem. This is what I wanted to try with this work, to make this not so noble organ beautiful.

 © Kimberly Hoskens 

I want to do this, to play with the idea that this organ that is badly considered, I want to make it sublime, I want to show how beautiful it can be and how beautiful it is. For me that is what art is in a way, being able to transform something disgusting in something beautiful.

I love this idea, are you going to continue working around this?

A lot of people are thinking, what is next? Are you going to do a heart? Are you going to make a brain? But actually the next one I’m working on is a square of my skin, so I calculated with mathematic formulas what is the superficies of your skin. What I’m thinking of right now for later is the placenta.

 © Meltem Karasu : Laure Forêt and Céline during the interview at Ithaka festival.

I think it’s a really good choice, it’s such an important body part for a women, and it’s I think the only acceptable body part that some people actually eat.

I have cats and when they have babies they eat their placenta, it’s pretty disgusting to see. But indeed there is a lot of symbolism and ideas that it could be nutritious and could be good to eat but I don’t think a lot of people are doing it. But for me it is really an organ that stands for life. It is the starting point of every human being that is this disgusting pocket, which allows us to survive for nine months. It creates the connection between the mom and the baby, and then when the mom gives birth this organ is just put away like garbage. And again it’s the same for me, starting with something that doesn’t get enough consideration and make something beautiful with it.

 © Anke Kesters

Last question! Are there certain people you really look up to? Or that inspire you?

I’m influenced by everything. I think artists are like sponges they grab everything not only art works but theatre, just daily life and conversations with friends. Of course, there are some artists that are gods for me in Belgium, like Berlinde De Bruyckere or Wim Delvoye. I think they are very fascinating persons. A big one, maybe even the one that pushed me to do bigger works is Anish Kapoor, he’s often talking about flesh and skin but in a way that I find very impressive. You don’t see flesh, you don’t see the inside of your body but you feel it. I think that achieving that in an artwork and in a very big size I find it very fascinating.

Make sure to head on over to her website for more of her work! Or follow her on instagram



Photos by : Kimberly, Meltem and Anke Kesters 





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