Biennale of Sydney

Laure Prouvost

Laure Prouvost. Photograph: Zan Wimberley

Laure Prouvost

Born 1978 in Croix-Lille, France
Lives and works in London, United Kingdom; Antwerp, Belgium; and a caravan in the Croatian desert


Using video, drawing, tapestry, ceramics, photography, performance and – above all –language, Laure Prouvost creates immersive installations, which plunge the viewer into a state of personal and collective introspection. Words, images, memories, the five senses, everything which appears tangible and reliable is inverted by the fantastical nature of the ambiguous narratives introduced by the artist. Her relationship to language, which is mischievous and full of humour, is informed by her own experience and the gulf between everyday spoken language, in England, and her mother tongue.

For about 20 years, Laure Prouvost has been developing a protean body of work, giving shape to original stories and tales. An image archivist (whether she finds or collects them), the French artist masters the compiling of this visual matter, whose abundance captivates viewers. The clever juxtaposition of real facts with elements that Prouvost borrows from her complex family mythology; the incredible substance she manages to give to our five senses; her way with words; and the seemingly casualness of her ‘visual and emotional trompe-l’œil' are all means from which to look at our contemporary reality with a sharp eye. By proposing a particularly innovative, singular and organic body of work, Prouvost develops a coherent and penetrating narrative in her work using fantasy and humor to question our cultural history and what remains of it over the course of movements and generations.

At the heart of a sprawling and tentacular practice, where connections and ramifications are essential from one body of work to another, is an echo in intention, form, reason and concern. A fundamental connectivity links tapestries to videos, bronze to ceramics, installations to performances, and works on paper to constitute a rhizomatic ensemble of a fascinating coherence. Starting from scattered patterns – a word, a branch, a drawing, Prouvost mobilises and channels the fluidity of this material to provision a vast ensemble that is both autonomous and dependent on the spectator's elusive sensations and feelings. Affinities, alliances, connectedness, and analogies, figured by glass cables and intangible liquidity, testify to this permanent circulation. This coming and going spreads, the transmission rolls and the turnover flows, to say this world of communication where movements, currents and passages have become unavoidable is constitutive of our mobilities through it.

An archivist of images, objects, words, crafts, fictions and documents, Prouvost captures the daily flow of images and texts that assail us, in order to isolate the extraordinary associations and combinations that will specifically serve her stories and chronicle her work in general. Through a rough and fairly unscrupulous approach to the principles of translation, a disconcerting facility for dealing with notions of appearance, hypothesis and ambiguity in the bogus myths she offers us, along with the suggestive idea that a drama, breakdown or failure is always possible. Prouvost methodically constructs a substantial and indispensable body of work. Although she plays with the effects that these incidences and accidents provoke, the very real perspective of an ideal world can be glimpsed in the generosity and the uncontrived fantasy and exhilaration that she brings to her work.

Exhibited at