Baars bares all

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Dutch artist and photographer Ingrid Baars has already won prizes for her L’Afrique c’est Chic! Series, currently exhibiting in Brussels until mid-September when it moves to London, then Paris. Baars plays with the contrast between classic African art and contemporary creation. The results are an attractive jumble of the human body, nearly all female figures, embellished by antique African wood sculptures, with accessories borrowed from famous stylists and designers, such as Jean-Paul Gaultier. The only male form depicted so far is in the work entitled Heaven. In some of the photographs in this series, the artist has also recycled her own oil paintings from an earlier period. The photography is all her own, the final objects in 2-D created on computer from thousands of original photographs. Originally a drawer and painter, Baars, 42, who lives and works in Antwerp, says that photography is something she has always dabbled with, the medium becoming a major element  of her artistic creation during the last ten years. In this series, wooden artefacts evolve into flesh, lending each photograph a sculptural dimension, with different accessories, textures and shadows chosen to reinforce one another. This is an ongoing project; Baars has completed 25 works, but says she is aiming for a total of between 50 and 60 images that will be published in a book. Each picture is for sale in a limited edition of seven, starting at €5,500.