Laure Prouvost (French, b. 1978)
Laure Prouvost produces absorbing moving image and sound installations in which she conflates reality with fiction and art with everyday life. Prouvost’s environments often confound expectations through a rapid-fire succession of sound and image. Narrated in the artist’s soft, seductive voice, they are interspersed with spoken and written instructions that directly address the viewer. Combining painting, sculpture, and found objects alongside her projected images, Prouvost lures the viewer-turned-participant into an abstracted, preverbal state of consciousness from which to rediscover the joy of learning language, words, and meanings.
Defiant of traditional narrative structures, Prouvost’s works integrate multiple stories and grapple with both literary and art-historical conversations. Her installation Wantee, for instance, which earned her the 2013 Turner Prize, fittingly exhibits these traits: within a tea party setting, the artist’s film charts a bizarre course through the relationship of artist Kurt Schwitters and Prouvost’s grandfather. The work is noted for its unconventional combination of images and objects as well as its transportive atmosphere. This style is indeed evinced throughout Prouvost’s work, as she continuously unhinges preconceptions about the functionality of language, objects, and images, be it through a barrage of fast-paced moving pictures or a Duchampian peephole installation.
Playing with language as a tool for the imagination, Prouvost is interested in confounding linear narratives and expected associations among words, images and meaning. She combines existing and imagined personal memories with artistic and literary references to create complex film installations that muddy the distinction between fiction and reality. At once seductive and jarring, her films are composed of a rich, almost tactile assortment of pictures, sounds, and spoken and written phrases, which appear and disappear in quick, flashing cuts. These are often shown nestled into installations filled with a dizzying assortment of found objects, sculptures, paintings, drawings, furniture, signs, and architectural assemblages, based on the themes and imagery in her films. Prouvost does not allow for passive viewing. Through her work, she often addresses viewers directly, pulling them into her unruly, imaginative visions.
Laure Prouvost was born in Lille, France and is currently based in Antwerp. She received her BFA from Central St Martins, London in 2002 and studied towards her MFA at Goldsmiths College, London. She also took part in the LUX Associate Programme.
In 2011, Prouvost won the MaxMara Art Prize for Women and was the recipient of the Turner Prize in 2013. Her work is held in the collections of museum worldwide, including the Walker Art Center, Minnesota; Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Kunsthalle Luzern, Switzerland; Saatchi Collection, London; Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, France; and Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing, China, among others.
Prouvost has been selected by the Institut Francais to represent France at the next Venice Biennale, scheduled to run from 11 May to 24 November 2019.