This Tuesday morning at ten o’clock, the privileged will discover in the Gardens of the French Pavilion in the competition for the 58th Venice Biennale, and the project of the venetian host of these places, the artist Laure Prouvost. Daughter of the North, as its name indicates, born at Cross gates in Lille in 1978, she was propelled onto the international scene for 35 years by his Turner Prize in 2013, the first ever awarded to a French (she studied at Central Saint Martins and then at Goldsmiths ‘ College London).

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Since then, she has kept this mixture of simplicity and sophistication, humour, and candor, of strategy and of true fantasy that is part of the charm of the English scene. It is shown in (version) original, expertly coiffed uncombed, cool face makeup “nude”, dressed in true cavalier in the Elysée palace to become a Knight of the national order of Merit in the fall of 2016. It is a character that gives a blow to old and primed to anyone else in the strings of the conventions. She lives and works between London, Antwerp and a caravan in the desert Croatian” (sic).

wait State contemplative, close to the dream awake Portrait of Laure Prouvost. Courtesy of Alexandre Guirkinger

The title of his work, venetian is as poetic as it is cryptic, Deep See Blue Surrounding You / See This deep Blue Blend . Heir of the games dada or surrealist, Laure Prouvost is a strange being who often speaks in riddles, who invited a magician with doves at his press conference, paris pre-Biennale of Venice in January at the Palais de Tokyo (it was exhibited last summer and baffled more than one). In short, that keeps its audience in a state of wait and contemplative, close to the waking dream that has its adherents (Eric Cantona, hypersensitive behind the build of a athlete is a big fan of his poetry and of his freedom”, he collects with faith).

The commissioner of the French Pavilion, Martha Kirszenbaum. Courtesy Alexandre Guirkinger

His young commissioner (his junior by five years), Martha Kirszenbaum, came to defend his champion in the queen of stand-up at the traditional press conference of the 58th Venice Biennale, the 13th of march at the Italian Institute, rue de Varenne (Vii).

The explanations cleverly confused and the theatrical play of this graduate in political history, and cultural studies Sciences Po Paris and Columbia University in New York have not informed the curious as to what could occur in that charming French flag in the shape of a boudoir. A challenge to all the artists who worked. The mystery of the hold remained intact, as before the release of a film delirious of the third type.

“Using both video, drawing, tapestry, ceramics, photography, performance and, above all, the language, Laure Prouvost creates installations immervises which immerse the viewer in a state of introspection, personal and collective,” warns the folder official press (35 pages), under the blessing of the president of the French Institute, Peter Buhler, and two ministers, Jean-Yves Le Drian to Europe, and foreign Affairs, and Franck Riester for the Culture.

“The words, the images, the memories, the five senses, all that seems to us to be tangible and reliable is fiercely tormented by the fantastic stories double meaning introduced by the artist. Playful and full of humour, its relationship to the language thrives on its own experience and the time lag between the spoken language of everyday life in England, and the mother tongue.” It is so serious.

“octopuses have their brain in their tentacles, so they think feeling, they feel, thinking”, the artist tells us. Courtesy of the artist, Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, Brussels), carlier / gebauer (Berlin) and Lisson Gallery (London-New York)

last January, the day after his press conference, performative, we had met in Paris the lady and the unicorn. It was the middle of her roaming for real to establish a “journey of escape, both tangible and imaginary, to elsewhere ideal”. Here it is, as such, of all his charm disarming, which explains this odyssey between “the road movie in the subconscious mind” and the path of initiation, a kind of Quest for the holy Grail contemporary without God claimed, but “with an engine inside.”

“so I have a little crawling on the roads of France”

“My work is a journey from the invitation that I received for Venice, where we are now. The artist asks questions. Know where you come from, where we go, wondering who we are… And therefore, I, who am I representing a nation, vis-à-vis the borders of personal identity, of the other. Octopuses have their brain in their tentacles, so they think feeling, they feel thinking. So I have a little crawling on the roads of France, we left Paris, heading for the lagoon. It was a true journey that began last September, Nanterre. At the beginning, there was me, and Martha, who has been very present. And then we met people, a magician with hairstyles extraordinary, and so on, a troop is made up”. Theatre Troupe or carnival snapshot, it doesn’t matter.

preparatory Sketch, watercolor and pencil on paper, 2019, Laure Prouvost. Courtesy of the artist

“It was a path by steps, by discoveries, so that the project can grow slowly, that first one touches the ground. It was made by moments by car, others really walk away. Sometimes, we even dug. We have thus arrived at the Café Opera in Roubaix, a small coffee-stained, incredible: the magician was there, the birds are pulled out of the tables in front of people unmoved, who were playing cards.”

“I was looking for, then, to imagine all these pavilions of the Venice Biennale, played by so many artists: how to search for and meet? This story bungalows in Venice is slightly shifted compared to our world, now. It reflects another time and its policy. My trip also wanted to talk about the liquidity of our contemporary world, migration from the hot to the cold, borders, barriers, multiplicity of paths. Roubaix is not on the road to Venice, but there is no doubt in my subconscious, I’m from there.”

“This palace of the factor Horse, it is the pure desire to create”

“We arrived at the factor Horse of night, some came on horseback at a gallop, the other on the small wheels, modern, all in various modes of transport. The night around us, it was all of a sudden find themselves in the depths of human. This palace of the factor Horse, it is the pure desire to create, it is the human who lives and wants to be recognized. I knowissais already this incredible place, I love these characters that exist in the ends of the society, which are a little outside the system, who have things to say. It hung in the palace of the factor Horse. We set off again in the morning for Marseilles: a brass band started to play before us Italiano vero , as a sign, a green light for our departure to Italy. The band has followed up to the next step.”

Laure Prouvost, preparatory sketch, watercolor and pencil on paper, 2019 . Courtesy of the artist

“In Marseilles, the sky loaded is suddenly opened in front of us. The title of my project for the Biennale comes out of it, Deep See Blue Surrounding You / See This Deep Blue Blend . Marseille, it is the exchange with the sea that connects us with Venice. This Mediterranean sea which meant vacation, boats, games, has changed meaning in recent years.”

“Sadness, melancholy. We looked at it, feeling the souls, both the lost that live. Throughout this journey, it was recorded, photos, films, these moments, these sounds, this music, these people, these stories, these fisheries miraculous transported in the K-Way Jules and our barbecues on the beach, I had my computer with me on the road. Even if, behind the product that is built and which questions the real and the virtual, what was most important was to live this journey. Tomorrow, we set off at a gallop for Venice…”

Represent France at Venice, is it scary, exhilarating, stimulating, exciting, disturbing? “It’s all of that, it is also a lot of joy”, responds frankly this nice person, simple the whole island, of a frank good education in the French lurking just behind.

Laure Prouvost is represented by the Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris /Brussels), carlier/gebauer (Berlin) and Lisson Gallery (London / New York) .