Laure Prouvost | A World of Fiction, Art and Everyday Life
by Joel Linkewer, Communications Intern, The Bass
Straddling between worlds of fiction, art and everyday life, Laure Prouvost’s trans-medial installations teleport the viewer into alternate realities. Often working with themes of language, miscommunication and escape, Prouvost’s multi-institution exhibition, They Are Waiting for You, takes on a fitting local context here at The Bass, situated in Miami Beach, an internationally known destination of respite for tourists and locals alike. Prouvost’s Miami Beach debut at The Bass includes several newly improvised or reformatted works, creating a unique viewing opportunity for visitors.
Rendered through absorbing films that are often narrated by the French artist herself, Prouvost intersects her moving image accounts with direct instruction to the viewer, breaking the fourth wall, and engaging the audience as a key participant in her grander narrative. Furthermore, carefully arranged sculptures, found objects, local fauna and paintings fill the exhibition space, bridging immersing the viewer into the world’s encountered in her films. The variety of media, both tangible and digital, interplay perfectly into Prouvost’s investigation of what is real and what is manipulated.
Visually, the films showcase wildlife, much local to south Florida, alongside untamed natural landscapes. These scenes are juxtaposed against edits of Prouvost herself, often hidden behind a simple, handcrafted, paper mask, along with slides of stylized text, treading between instruction and description. Altogether the work functions as a sort of documentary performance viewed through a conceptual art lens.
Where words fall short, Prouvost often turns to sensory instinct, explaining her depictions of old fish and oranges – used to elicit strong scents. As the artist herself explains, “life is more complex than words.” The use of sensory manipulation is key to her overall practice. While scent is not actually present in the gallery, the audience participates in interpreting the stimulus, in tandem with past memories or exposures. The result not only enlivens the multisensory interpretation, but also melds it alongside personal experience, proving the necessity of audience participation. Prouvost agrees concluding, “the promise of the video is that you belong to it all. You are the view. You are these walls. You are this floor. You are this chair. You are the structure we made. Without you, the show is nothing.”
The celebrated artist, whose accolades include the prestigious Turner Prize, will soon represent France at the 2019 Venice Biennale, showcasing her interdisciplinary practice on one of the art world’s grandest stages. Until then, The Bass invites its guests to enter the worlds of Laure Prouvost, soaking in her latest U.S. exhibition.
Read more: Laure Prouvost: They Are Waiting for You is on view through September 2, 2018.