In a provocative encounter between portraits of girls today and the stuffy beauty of the city of Vichy, Sandra Rocha overturns the charm of the Women of Fashion and the Bathers of yesteryear, whose images haunt these places.
On the banks of the Allier, the poses adopted by her models vacillate between handeddown codes of femininity and their deep-seated desire to be themselves. Some of the girls have jumped into the water, recalling the fate of the models whom artists rendered sublime as The Bathers. The refined architecture of spa towns, with their sparkling casinos, forms the painted background of living pictures. Here the artist creates a breach in time, for the setting is also a cage. Its doors are wide open but the beings who manage to escape don’t get very far. Like the waters of the river, these gala ornaments are like a palace of mirrors in which reflections get lost.
Excerpt from text by Michel Poivert