Kamel Mennour

Camille Henrot

11 Mar - 25 Apr 2009

© Installation view

“My method of working envisages art as a form of personal anthropology in which therelationship between the general and the particular – and through it the question of therelationship with time – is central.” Camille Henrot.

In the manner of a geologist or archaeologist, Camille Henrot excavatesculture – her raw material – in successive strata and layers. Far from wishing torationalise things, Camille Henrot intensifies the complexity of ourrelationship to the world, working by means of extending, superimposing andrecycling, as if to ward off the anguish of obliteration. So it is that the seriesRoom Movies, as well as Courage mon amour, reveals a desire to resist time,whereas King Kong Addition survives visual interference and theannouncement of its own disappearance. Her most recent project, FilmSpatial, created around the personality of Yona Friedman, seeks to denyspace and its temporalities. For her first solo exhibition at galerie KamelMennour, Camille Henrot is showing a collection of new works combiningdrawing, film, and sculpture. Installed in the depths of the gallery, the Tevau –a ritualistic object from New Caledonia – is here revisited by means of acontemporary talisman: a fire hose. If the form of this rolled-up objectevokes exchange and reciprocity, the torsion between the two coilsindicates that the two volumes are indeed of equal value. With themetamorphosing of this fire hose into a Tevau, the artist reminds us of theritualistic nature of certain modern objects, as well as the resurgence of theprimitive in Western cultures.
On the ground floor, the installation Hauts Reliefs and the showing ofCynopolis transport us to Egypt and the site of the first pyramid at Sakkarah.Made up of 13 sculptures in plaster and sandstone, Hauts Reliefs initiates anoriginal dialogue between sculpture and plastic bag, history and anecdote,perpetuity and everyday life, whilst the film Cynopolis shows images of thishistoric site in operation. Concentrating on a group of stray dogs, the camerain Cynopolis films, in turn, workers, tourists and animals. The dog, consideredin Egyptian mythology to be the boatman between the world of the livingand that of the dead, here embodies the return to a savage state of acreature humans have tried to domesticate – in other words nostalgia for ananterior state, reflecting this decomposing landscape where the pyramid isturning back into a mountain. Thus, in between the will to remember and toforget, the real and the imaginary, matter and abstraction, this exhibitionestablishes the foundations of a problem dealt with frequently in CamilleHenrot’s work: that of the elasticity of cultural products, or indeed thetendency inherent in everything to return of its own accord to shapelessness.

Born in Paris in 1978, Camille Henrot first came to public attention during theexhibition “J’en rêve” at the Fondation Cartier in 2005. Since then, she hasdeveloped a national and international career. Her work has been shown by,among other institutions, the Atelier of the Jeu de Paume and the Palais deTokyo in Paris, as well as at the Hara Museum in Tokyo. She recently took partin the tenth edition of the Paul Ricard prize at the Fondation d’EntrepriseRicard, La Consistance du visible, on the invitation of Nicolas Bourriaud.

Tags: Yona Friedman, Camille Henrot