Carlier | Gebauer

Laure Prouvost

11 Sep - 31 Oct 2015

© Laure Prouvost
Into all that is here, 2015, video still, digital video, 9 minutes 41 seconds, 2/5 + 2AP
photography: Nick Ash
Dear dirty dark drink drift down deep droll (in der dole)
11 September – 28 October 2015

Grandfather has been missing for some time now. He began building his tunnel to North Africa years ago and never came back. We tried to follow him at one point, calling his name in the dirt and bringing him crisps in case he was hungry. A welcome center to commemorate Grandfather’s artwork – and his prodigious digging – has even been erected on the point where his tunnel was supposed to end. None of these attempts have brought him back.

carlier | gebauer is pleased to announce a solo exhibition with Laure Prouvost, opening Thursday, 10 September, 4-8pm.

Laure Prouvost’s artistic output consistently returns to themes of escape into unfamiliar worlds or imaginings of unexpected alternative environments. A strong narrative impulse propels her practice, resulting in immersive, trans-medial installations with interwoven story lines that combine fiction and reality.

Visitors to her exhibition with carlier | gebauer will be greeted by Grandad’s Library, a collection of books belonging to the artist’s conceptual artist Grandfather. Among shelves laden with poetry, art historical surveys, literary travelogues, and books about escapism you can access a secret portal that will take you into the exhibition. Once inside, you’ll find yourself in pitch darkness. A passageway to the right will lead you to the video Into All That is Here, which has its international premiere here in Berlin. The motif of digging and “tunnelling” provides a starting point for this primal reflection on love, birth, and death. A sense of time, space, and emotion repeatedly expand and contract throughout the video. Dynamic jump cuts between blossoming flowers, pulsating lights, fountains, GPS screens, remote controls, and still images underscore how we experience the world both physically and through images, while the video’s hypnotic voice-over speaks to us as if we were their lover, unborn child, or a friend all at once.

Strong whooshing and rumbling sounds greet you as you emerge from the darkened passageway’s central canal. Branches protrude from the wall with numerous organic and technical prostheses. The ends of Beak Branch splay open to form the mouths of baby birds crying to be fed, while in the sculpture Mouth Branch gaping lips and an ample bosom provide a place for plants to grow. If they so desire, birds could nest in Communication Branch to check their email or GPS location.

Sensuality meets the abject in Diner Party, a three-panel tapestry on view in the left-hand gallery. Produced according to the traditional art of tapestry-making in Flanders, the textile depicts a riotous dinner party comprising both feline and human guests — including several manifestations of the artist herself — gathered around a tea party of dirty dishes, bespoke ceramics, taxidermied creatures, and figures borrowed from Flemish painting. Crude speech bubbles animate the scene with statements rife with double meanings: I am boiling for you, what are we digging for?, the cat will clean it up.

Laure Prouvost (b. Croix-Lille, France) lives and works in London and Antwerp. After winning the Max Mara Art Prize for Women in 2011, she was the first French artist to win the prestigious Turner Prize in 2013. Her work has been exhibited at the Tate Britain, London; Musée départemental d’art contemporain de Rochechouart, Rochechouart; Whitechapel Gallery, London; CCA, Glasgow; Portikus, Frankfurt; and the National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Moscow. Prouvost has forthcoming exhibitions at Haus der Kunst, Munich; Fahrenheit, Los Angeles; Consortium Dijon, Dijon; Kunstmuseum Luzern, Luzern; and Centre for Contemporary Art Laznia, Gdańsk.

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