Past exhibitions

Diana Lui: The Feminine Beyond

By 26. 11. 2012 April 15th, 2019 No Comments

Diana Lui
The Feminine Beyond

26.11.2012 – 12.01.2013

Before they become a work of art, Diana Lui’s nudes are images of a body, but they are also the reflection of the social environment the model belongs to as well as of the history that has formed its identity to the point that the mere image of the nude is so strong, a name associated with it becomes unnecessary.

Diana Lui
The Feminine Beyond

“Before they become a work of art, Diana Lui’s nudes are images of a body, but they are also the reflection of the social environment the model belongs to as well as of the history that has formed its identity to the point that the mere image of the nude is so strong, a name associated with it becomes unnecessary. We are not faced with the concept of identity in the way a government office would define it: passport size photograph, name, age, citizenship. The nude body that is revealed here, in part of whole, often has a complex history that cannot be reduced to mere informational data, rather by a few “biographical themes” or “biographèmes”– a term used by Roland Barthes – that help put together a story. We understand quickly that Diana Lui has selected people floating in a certain transit, in travels, in encounters, the type of people who live a roving life and only land momentarily at the end of long and curious journeys. Do these young women simply undress physically or through their discourse? Although it speaks highly of the art of the nude, laying bare one’s body does not disclose much in terms of identity, nor do the few excerpts of biographical notes.
The real source of identity in this paradoxical unveiling is in the eyes, their expression, their gaze that Diana Lui’s artistic treatment of the image and quality of the portrait lead us to. The gaze can be tense like a dart ready to strike, but also be a shield to protect the thoughts and sensibility of a defenseless model left there in a delicate yet sensual state of abandonment. Nature’s diversity in body shapes and forms are clearly visible in the flesh. Yet, not one body resembles another, even if a certain and fragile grace created by the art of photography, links them together. The eyes however all speak to us, they look at us to reveal a thought or an emotion. But those darts and shields are in fact a decoy; they’re not there to frighten us away but on the contrary to pull us into an interior world.”

Anne Biroleau,
Curator, 21st Century Photography Department, Bibliothèque Nationale de France

The feminine beyond is a photographic and artistic exploration of today’s feminine identity dealing specifically with two themes : the nude and the veiled. Far from being a feminist criticism on society, these photographs seek to re-define our notion of identity, more specifically the “identity” beyond all identities, the inner and original self within us when first born into this world: the primordial self. As an artist with multiple ethnic, cultural backgrounds and nationalities, the belief in the existence of the inner primordial self is essential to my research on our contemporary identity today.
Throughout history, the body has been mythified, sacrificed, sanctified, idealized, objectified and modified. The woman’s body in my day and age has continued to be idealized, treated as an object of desire and subjected to transformation whether through clothing, make-up, dieting, extreme exercise, plastic surgery, tattooing or piercing. With the onslaught of globalization, the female body has become more and more homogenized, giving room only for a few possibilities to be an accepted ideal body type.
The series of women portraits posing nude in closed intimate spaces or outdoors in nature is part of my research regarding the female body and identity for the last 20 years. Having begun with self-portraits in the late 1980’s, my search for identity as a young woman with a multiple-cultured background grew into a more universal search. The female body has never truly belonged to the woman herself as an individual but as an idealized form to mold herself to. My research is centered on returning women back to their original bodies, hence their original selves or the inner primordial self. I prefer to call these portraits “naked” portraits of women individuals rather than “nude portraits”. The state of being “nude” has always been dressed up to fit the latest trends in civilization whereas the state of being “naked” presents the body as it is, without any preconceptions of beauty or what is accepted by society.
In esthetic contrast to these naked portraits, I have begun a photographic research since 2009 on the diverse and rich symbolic meanings the veil possesses and how it is worn by different people from different cultural backgrounds today. Inspired by the obsessional photographic work on women’s costumes in Morocco by famous French psychiatrist Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault (1872-1934) and through a personal documentation of the recurring semantical structures of the veil, I am seeking to unmask the very essence of its multiple meanings, possibly finding the “essential or universal veil”, hence giving clues to our complex existence.

The meticulous and intuitive process of photographing these women with a large format camera is not so much a capturing of the moment as it is an exchange of experiences, intimacy and trust between artist and model where it is revealed that inner self. These portraits whether naked or veiled, show women for who they simply are, and in this simplicity and essentiality, there surfaces an untainted, natural aura of the divine. These portraits are modern icons of today, offering infinite ways and possibilities of being and mutating. Unlike the female icons of the past, these modern icons offer the possibility of freedom from past taboos and expectations. These portraits give women the possibility to re-possess their body once again, and in photographing them and exhibiting them, enhance and perpetuate their individuality. Rich, complex and unique, each woman and her body are transfigured, making her whole, truly feminine and beyond.

Diana LUI

Opening of the exhibition: 26th November 2012 at 7pm

The exhibition will be opened by the director of the Institut Francais in Ljubljana, Mrs. Anne Durufle.

You are also cordially invited to the book signings by Diana Lui and Klavdij Sluban who will both be present during the opening.

Book signings at the opening

Diana Lui: “Les Méduses”

text by Anne Biroleau, general curator of Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, Edition Chez Higgins, Collection Vanités.
portfolio with 15 original photographs, edition of 30
An intimate and intense exploration of the female nude portrait. Like the portfolio’s title “Medusas”, these quiet portraits reveal a disturbing yet sensual journey into the complex world of women.
Price: 215,00 eur

Diana Lui: The Cities of Immortals
exhibition catalogue of solo exhibition in Guangdong Museum of Art, China
Price: 40,00 eur

“Chez Robert Frank” photographs and text by Diana Lui & Klavdij Sluban,
Edition Chez Higgins, Collection Témoignages.
portfolio with 15 original photographs, edition of 30
Price: 215,00 eur
During a winter trip to New York city in 2008, Diana Lui and Klavdij Sluban paid several visits to Robert Frank and his wife June. Each encounter was warm and spontaneous built on mutual curiosity and respect, quiet conversations by the fireplace, poignant exchanges in both Frank’s and June’s studios, a meeting of strangers under the vibrant and clear winter sky of the Big Apple.
Price: 215,00 eur

Diana Lui, Klavdij Sluban: Pur Sang
Exhibition Catalogue
Text by Thierry Dumanoir (curator), 70 pages, hardcover.
Editions Filigranes, Hors Collection, Paris 2010
Price: 25,00 eur

“Paradise Lost” by Klavdij Sluban
text by Géraldine Martin,director of ArtCurial bookstore, Paris
Edition Chez Higgins, Collection Témoignages.
Klavdij Sluban has been traveling for many years throughout the Caribbean Islands (Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic), crossing the Atlantic by cargo ship. His dense poetic vision is far from any kind of exoticism and always faithful to a singular vision of an inner quest.
Price: 215,00 eur

Diana Lui is an artist, photographer and filmmaker working between Europe, North Africa, the United States and Asia. A master with the 8×10 inch view camera, Diana Lui develops long term photographic and artistic projects over several years. “Intimate Portraits”, a project on today’s ” hybrid generation of new nomads who have lost their roots and origins due to the onslaught of globalism ” was initiated 20 years ago and continues to develop to this day. In the history of photography, Diana Lui’s work can be compared to that of August Sander’s portraits of the German people. However, where both their black and white portraits are subtle and realistic, Lui takes off from August Sander’s objectivity with a lyricism and sensitivity of her own interpretation. The harmonious combination of masculine objectivity with a feminine lyricism makes her work unique among the world of portrait and art photography today. Her latest project explores the « veil and its universal semantics in Europe, the Orient and Asia. Lui’s monumental portraits of people, landscapes and trees have graced some of the most prestigious museums in the world – Guangdong Museum of Art, Shanghai Art Museum, Fototeca de Monterrey in Mexico, Museo de Bellas Artes Caracas in Venezuela, Musée de la Photographie de Charleroi, etc. Her training in both fine arts and photography make her a versatile artist in mediums other than photography. In recent years, she has expanded into installation art from creating works in-situ inside museums and outdoors on cultural and historical sites.


Photographic workshop with Diana Lui

Diana Lui, an international artist and photographer with 15 years of experience conducting workshops around the world such as during Rencontres d’Arles will guide workshop participants to discover or define better their own photographic identity/style. Through a dynamic, creative and efficient analysis of images according to each participant’s theme, project and personality, Lui will help participants to gain self-confidence and deeper knowledge in their own evolution as photographers and artists.

Duration of workshop:

Friday evening: 17h – 21h
Saturday: 9h30 – 19h with a lunch break between 12h30 – 14h
Sunday: 9h30 – 19h with lunch break between 12h30 – 14h

This workshop will teach participants to read and interpret images as well as to construct coherent series of images for their own specific projects and needs. Participants will learn how to place their images in a visual context, whether historical or thematic according to two principal axis:
the professional world (press, agencies, galleries, book publishing, education, corporate, etc) and their personal/artistic research.

the workshop will be conducted in English
number of participants: 12 maximum
open to: professional photographers and artists, students of photography and art, amateurs passionate about learning about photography and art

participants must bring for the 1st day of workshop * :
– 40 to 80 photographs per person or portable computer with selected photos
– their portfolios, books published, a rough draft for a photographic or artist book
– a notebook or something to record important discussions during workshop
– a portable computer

*For the other two days of workshop, please prepare other photos to bring if you have more photos you would like to show, please make a general selection of photographs yourself before coming to each workshop.

workshop fee: 170 € per participant (the price is including VAT)


Diana Lui

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