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Bozar Presents Vivian Maier. The Self-Portrait and Its Double in June

Vivian Maier. The Self-Portrait and its Double  runs 8 June - 21 July '22.

Bozar Presents Vivian Maier. The Self-Portrait and Its Double in June

Vivian Maier. The Self-Portrait and its Double runs 8 June - 21 July '22.

For the first time in Belgium, a solo exhibition is devoted to the self-taught photographer Vivian Maier. A pioneer of street photography, she has nevertheless produced a large number of self-portraits, many of which will be exhibited at the Centre for Fine Arts this summer.

The exhibition at Bozar presents some 90 of Vivian Maier's self-portraits, organised into three sections: shadow self-portraits in which her silhouette plays the leading role, reflections in everyday objects, and finally her play with mirrors. The exhibition also includes two Super 8 films by Maier, which give the visitor a cinematic insight into her view of the world.

Maier (1926-2009) was of French and Austro-Hungarian descent and lived and worked as a childminder, first in New York and later in Chicago. Maier was passionate about photography her whole life and captured snapshots of daily life in these two large American cities, where a heterogeneous crowd of people from different social backgrounds crossed paths and whose faces she immortalised.

Despite her talent, Maier remained unknown during her lifetime. Her photographic archives were discovered at the end of 2007 by John Maloof, an estate agent who then recognised the qualities of an artist who had remained anonymous all her life. Little by little, a photographic language of extreme richness and complexity was revealed. Her archive consists of more than 120,000 photographic images, Super 8 and 16 mm films, various recordings, scattered photographs and an impressive amount of undeveloped film. Since the release of her photographs and films a decade ago, Maier has been posthumously recognised as one of the greatest street photographers along with Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Helen Levitt and Garry Winogrand.

Maier herself poses in numerous self-portraits, a recurring practice in her body of work. Perfectly mastering the techniques of photography, she reveals her face in the play of mirrors or in the reflection of shop windows, and skilfully handles shadows, light, angles, and framing. These self-portraits question her relationship to the world, each staging an act of resistance which proves the existence of a woman who was invisible all her life.

Produced in many variations and types, her self-portraits form a language in itself, a complex codification that constitutes a large part of her work. This approach is particularly relevant today, in a world where selfies and self-representation have become such a recurrent practice.

Bozar Presents Vivian Maier. The Self-Portrait and Its Double in June

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