Violette Bule was born in Valencia, Venezuela in 1980. She studied at the Active School of Photography in Mexico and holds a Diploma in General Studies of Photography from the National Center of Photography of Venezuela. Her photographic projects which highlight complex social issues have been exhibited internationally. She has also been using photographic education as a medium for social change, introducing academic projects within some of Venezuela’s most notorious prisons.
Bule utilises urban space as a stage on which she creates performances, documented through the photographic medium to highlight and tackle current issues in Venezuela. However, her work moves beyond the documentary record, using theatre and humour as her means to channel criticism and reflection on current socio-political situations.
With the city as the subject of her ‘The Heroines’ series, she puts current events into context with irony. Her Las Odalisques, 2013 is the photographic record of a protest organised by Bule which saw over a dozen topless women wearing only red pants in front of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo to demand the return of Matisse’s “Odalisque in Red Trousers” which was replaced with a fake several years prior and once retrieved by the FBI remained in The United States instead of being returned to the Venezuelan museum.
Bule’s Odalisque in Red Trousers was acquired by the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, and went on to become the winner of the Cisneros Foundation’s grant. During the protest, she explained, “My main goal is to have the original returned but I also want to call attention to the irony behind the way the art market works. After this scandal, the Odalisque will surely be worth much more.”