Helen Sear

Brisées 2013

The title of the work Brisées is taken from the collection of essays by the French Surrealist writer and ethnographer Michel Leiris,, Brisées: Broken Branches, first published in 1966.

“Ornamented orbs zone out small, often pixelated, monochrome photographs of woodland scenes. At their most these orbs cover half of the picture space, at their least a sixth. Perfect spheres and distended egg-shapes appear arbitrarily placed, but then again balance carefully in stripped tree crowns, their insides apparently in some mutualistic relation to their outsides. These photographs have been ‘ripped’ from the internet, found by typing ‘tree surgeon’ into google image search. The many ropes and ladders trailing from inside the orbs are clues to their occluded subject….

Venery: an archaic word pertaining to the art, the act, or practice of hunting, or the pursuit of sexual pleasure – the thrill of the chase. The chase proceeds by close attention to nuanced detail in the environment. For the forester, brisées are branches or stakes planted in the ground that define an area of timber ready to be processed. They are boundary markers, made of the thicket, planted among the visual noise of the thicket. “

Jonathan P. Watts, Brisées, GOST 2013.

About the Artist

Artist Website

Helen Sear studied Fine Art at Reading University and University College London, Slade School, her practice coming to prominence in the late 1980s, when she worked primarily through installation, performance and film. Her photographic works became widely known in the 1991 British Council exhibition, De-Composition: Constructed Photography in Britain, which toured Latin America and Eastern Europe.


She continues to explore ideas of vision, touch, and the re-presentation of the nature of experience with particular reference to the human and animal body and her immediate environment in rural Wales and France.