At the 12th Biennale de Lyon titled Meanwhile… Suddenly, And then, curated by Gunnar B. Kvaran, Outset supported Turner Prize nominated artist Laure Prouvost.
The two works presented by Prouvost, her 2011 installation Before Before and her 2013 commission After After, form the prologue and epilogue to her moving-image and installation based project The Wanderer. The Wanderer is a feature-length film comprised of six sequences, which have so far only been exhibited individually accompanying installations at IPS, Birmingham; Art Exchange, Colchester; The Hepworth, Wakefield; Spike Island, Bristol; MOTInternational, London and Gallery TPW, Toronto.
The story of The Wanderer has been developed from a text by artist Rory Macbeth, who translated a Kafka novella from German into English without any knowledge of the German language and without a dictionary. Morphing between the two languages the original narrative becomes transformed, if not lost, in its translation. Throughout The Wanderer Prouvost’s characters undergo a series of increasingly bizarre experiences, in which reality disintegrates around them. Combining everyday footage with staged interludes, the film’s plot is constantly undermined by the disparate audio and visual elements with which it is juxtaposed.
Before Before is a series of interleaving plywood boards concealing little scenes hidden away in the corners. Through a cacophony of sound, image and objects Prouvost creates a surreal narrative around the character of ‘Jenny’ as she seeks the film’s protagonist ‘Gregor’. In a world of broken mirrors, misunderstandings and confusion, the audience is both a participant and foil to Jenny’s quest, sending her drunk and spinning out of control. The only things holding the narrative together are a series of story-boards drawing a line between the separate elements.
Hidden behind a door is After After, a small, completely blacked out room in which sculptures, paintings and objects placed throughout the space flicker into sight with the flashes of a strobe light, giving rise to what the artist calls ‘a different kind of 3D film’. Though framing the end of the project, After After does not offer concrete answers to the raised questions. Instead, the viewer must take on the role of a detective, examining the objects as clues of evidence from the events in ‘The Wanderer’s narratives.
Born in Croix-Lille, France, in 1978, Laure Prouvost graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2002. Since then her work has been exhibited extensively across the UK and internationally. In her installations and films she sets out to unbalance the relationship between language and understanding. She charms and wins over the viewer with an initially amusing narrative which she then quickly subverts with other implicit or irrelevant stories, gradually endowing her works with a surrealistic dimension. Prouvost has increasingly developed work that spills out of the frame of her previous medium of film. Her installations aim to create a portal to her cinematic environments, breaking free of their frames, becoming a celebration of imperfection and conjuring a state before we can talk about anything.
Laure Prouvost recently has been nominated for the 2013 Turner Prize for the exhibitions FarFromWords at Whitechapel Gallery, London and Wantee as part of Schwitters in Britain, Tate Britain, London. In 2011 she won the ‘MaxMara Art Prize for Women’. Laure Prouvost is represented by MOTInternational and lives and works in London.