Sophie-Yen Bretez is a self-taught emerging artist currently living and working in Paris. Originally from Vietnam, Bretez moved to France at a young age providing her with a rich fusion of cultural heritage often reflected in her multifaceted artistic practice. After completing a master’s Grand École at Neoma Business School in Rouen, France in 2018, Bretez held multiple management positions throughout Paris. In 2021, Bretez decided to pursue her passion for art and began creating full time. 


Presenting a thematic fusion of autobiography and narrative identity, Bretez’s oeuvre is marked by her signature dream-like surrealist figuration and skilful depiction of complex emotional states. Focusing on discovering ways in which to mirror the human condition in a state of recovery, Bretez often includes an illuminated horizon line stating, “I paint horizons for those who have suffered.” By portraying her characters in semi-open spaces with a sunset or sunrise in the background, Bretez blurs the boundaries of the confined ‘safe’ space one builds for themselves in moments of weakness. Ultimately, highlighting the ambivalence of existence and the ambiguity of the human condition. 


Interested in challenging the traditional male gaze Bretez utilises reverse voyeurism and the evident nudity of her characters to challenge our societal relationship with the naked female body. Unfaltering and strong, the women in Bretez’s paintings look directly out at the spectator, serving to simultaneously create distance and prove they are not at the viewer's disposal rather they assert control of their own bodies. 


A natural storyteller Bretez begins each painting with a poem linked to memory. Titling her works after these spontaneous and instinctual poems, Bretez incorporates an additional layer of dialogue between the work, the viewer, and herself. Testifying to the intimate and the universal through substantive narratives, Bretez seeks to perpetuate a wider reflection of political, societal, philosophical, and existential themes.