Karine Laval was born in Meudon-la-Forêt in Paris in 1971 and educated at the Sorbonne and the University ASSAAS in Paris, and at Cooper Union and the New School in New York City, where she now lives and works.
Since the beginning of her career, Laval has alternated agency and magazine commissions and publications (Here is New York 2002) with an artistic practice, wherein she combines portraiture of personalities from the cultural world with images of geographical locations (France, Norway, Portugal, Cuba) and visual narratives.
Her photographs are notably spontaneous and reminiscent of the photographs of masters such as Henri Cartier-Bresson or William Eggleston, with whom she shares a similar use of color as an expressive tool. This is evident in The Pool, which focuses on the leisurely environment of swimming pools in summertime. Laval’s images transport viewers into naïve atmospheres that capture the feeling as well as the substance of everyday life in the twenty-first century. In Altered States, Laval continues to explore the vagaries of subjective perception and challenges the way we see by combining performance and the mechanics of photography itself. The artist directed a professional dancer to perform underwater in a swimming pool, testing the body’s resistance in an unfamiliar element and under challenging conditions. The resulting images oscillate between representation and abstraction and blur the boundary between photography and painting.
Laval’s work has been widely exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in the United States and internationally at such venues as the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, the Sorlandet Art Museum in Kristiansand, Norway, the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and at several photo festivals throughout Europe and the US. Laval was a finalist in France’s Villa Medicis Hors Les Murs as well as the recipient of the Peter S. Reed Foundation Grant.