Laure Prouvost – Farfromwords: car mirrors eat raspberries when swimming through the sun, to swallow sweet smells
Laure Prouvost, the recipient of the fourth Max Mara Art Prize for Women, and nominated for the Turner Prize 2013, presents Farfromwords: car mirrors eat raspberries when swimming through the sun, to swallow sweet smells at the Maramotti Collection. Previously exhibited in London at the Whitechapel Gallery (20 March – 7 April 2013), the work has been purchased for our permanent collection.
Laure Prouvost’s new work is an environment that the viewer is cordially invited to enter: a large circular room in which a variety of media (photographs, collage, video clips, graffiti) enter into dialog with one another.
The perimeter of the canvas, which constitutes the environment’s walls, is everywhere covered with visionary images of a Surrealist tone, and its principle of formal organization is polycentric: a panoply of objects, faces, bodies, and landscapes, all punctuated by eigth video screens running passages drawn from the film Swallow. The entirety of the iconography that populates the room finds its inspiration in the aesthetic co-ordinates and sensual pleasures to be met while visiting Italy, on terms of a highly personal interpretation of the notion of an Italian Grand Tour in which objects and persons are the vehicles of encounters and experiences which the artist lived in the course of her residency in Italy.
At the rear of the room, the visitor enters a darkened space that hosts the projection of the entirety of the new film Swallow. The film’s montage is scansioned by the rhythm of the breathing of a large mouth, the image and sounds of which are fragmentarily interspersed among vivid, sensual, idylliacal visions which are charged with luminous vibrations: blue skies with scudding white clouds, gusts of wind and flights of birds, ice-cream cones, mature fruits, budding flowers, embraces and caresses, fresh grass, springs and fountains.
The rhythm of breathing that permeates the film moves in unison with the breathing of the visitor, and visitors are encouraged to project their own sensorial perceptions onto what they’re observing and hearing: this is the source of the sense of profound and playful pleasure that the artist’s work transmits with such great immediacy.
The artist herself appears in the film, along with other young women in joyous and sensual water games that precisely refer to events and encounters that the artist experienced in the course of her six-month residency in Rome and Biella.
This sojourn is amply and richly documented in the book that accompanies the exhibition, and which has the flavor of a diary, rich with visual and written notations. The book also presents an interview with the artist by Bina von Stauffenberg, as well as contributions from Daniel F. Herrmann (curator of the Whitechapel Gallery) and Melissa Gronlund (editor of Afterall), all three of whom will be present on 4 May for the occasion of the private view. In the course of the private view, on 4 May, Melissa Gronlund and Laure Prouvost, will also engage in a conversation on the theme of the relationship between art/reperesentation and real life which the artist addresses in this work, as well as on the confrontation between “the banal” and “the dramatic” in her experince of life in Italy. The dialogue, entitled Competition with Real Life, will be enriched by a dramatization on the part of the performer and opera singer Cristina Zavalloni, who thus makes a further contribution to this vision or interpretation which finds all of its protagonists in women, and which focuses not simply on grand ideas, but also on other essential elements of life.
The biennial Max Mara Art Prize for Women supports and promotes the work of artists who reside in the United Kingdom by offering its recipients the opportunity to explore their potential by way of the production of new art works during a six-month residency in Italy. The jury for this fourth edition of the prize was chaired by Iwona Blazwick and further consisted of Lisa Milroy, artist; Muriel Salem, collector; Amanda Wilkinson, gallerist; and Gilda Williams, writer and art critic.