Galerie Nathalie Obadia is pleased to present REACHING HI HER GROUNDS FROM THE RUB HE SHE WE GROW, artist Laure Prouvost’s first exhibition in Brussels, her new home. Winner of the Turner Prize in 2013, the artist represented France at the 58th Biennale of Venice (2019) with the pavilion DEEP SEE BLUE SURROUNDING YOU/ VOIS CE BLEU PROFOND TE FONDRE, which is currently on show at LAM, after having traveled to Les Abattoirs, in 2020. Last year, Laure Prouvost also participated in the 22nd Biennale of Sidney.
A multifaceted artist, Laure Prouvost has developed an unconventional body of work that attests to an inclination toward fantasy and poetry. Forms of authority are redirected into a sensitive and porous universe, which she mischievously orchestrates. Through her videos, paintings, drawings, tapestries, glass sculptures, ceramics, and performances, Laure Prouvost creates truly immersive environments, the grounds for personal mythologies and semi-fictional tales that weave and enrich themselves with each passing year. The artist shifts her attention toward spring and the renewal of nature, an ode to life filled with hope and optimism, in harmony with the season, and echoing current events.
Nature has always occupied a dominant place in the artist’s oeuvre. A guest of the Palais de Tokyo in 2018, Laure Prouvost transformed the industrial architecture of the museum into an abandoned, post-apocalyptic garden. In the present exhibition, each floor of the gallery represents a natural state in the blossoming process. The anarchic abundance of greenery and the organic proliferation are constitutive of her work, which, as always, spreads beyond the walls, generously welcoming all life forms in a place that is part utopian part dystopian. Femininity, through its most sensuous attributes, has permeated Laure Prouvost’s work for many years—breasts, buttocks, or pregnancy bellies incarnate a fertile and nurturing life, while also being discreet and supportive nods towards women’s emancipation movements—and takes on its full significance in this evocation of a rapidly burgeoning nature. Whether under the guise of a voluptuous silhouette or teeming flora, desire is at the heart of this work.
Moreover, Laure Prouvost’s artistic prism is, above all, intuitive and sensual, inviting the viewer to be physically and emotionally open to it. It is about “complicating our reality, giving it more sensations [...] the objective has always been to establish a stronger connection with our lives, to experience other points of view and other situations.” The stimulations are simultaneously acoustic, visual and tactile, like all the mediums and materials she appropriates with overtly lighthearted pleasure: glass, paper, canvas, textile, liquid, metal, video... As a true kneader of images, materials, linguistic expressions, and artisanal knowhow, the artist never ceases to extend and branch out her world, with a riotous dose of charm.
In fact, along this path punctuated by climbing plants, we can see a large-scale tapestry, produced according to Flemish tradition, a practice that has been seminal for the artist since 2014; a group of floral “mirror paintings” where each painting is only visible via a mirror; a large chandelier, produced in collaboration with the Venetian master glassmaker, Berengo, and to which the artist gives the aspect of an underwater vestige (memory of a submerged Venice?, straight out of the Brussels Canal?); paintings that resuscitate the mythical figure of “Grandma”; “Resin Reliques” that capture all sorts of vernacular objects inside a plasticized material, thus turning them into archaeological evidence of gross overconsumption; or even birds’ nests—symbolizing a kind of awakening to life—that appear for the first time in the artist’s corpus. Occupying the entire ground floor of the gallery, which used to be a garage, a car, in which the visitor is invited to sit, plays a song, created in collaboration with Paul Buck and Louis Shungu, that recalls the artist’s filmic installations: incongruous scripts, unsettling assemblages, ethereal images, and suggestive whispers create a surrealistic atmosphere, which the surrounding mise-en-scène seems to contribute to.