Laure Prouvost

(France/UK) b.1978

Lives and works in London

Laure Prouvost uses the irresistible pull of the narrative tradition within film to seduce and entertain the viewer with witty and mesmerizing juxtapositions of text and image.Yet implied storylines are quickly undermined by out-of-context comments and visuals that introduce a surreal dimension to the viewing experience.

It, Heat, Hit (2010) is a work that constructs and propels an inferred story through a fast-moving sequence of written commentary and excerpts of everyday incidents and pictures that have been filmed by the artist. This video is a sensory overload, featuring direct address, on-screen text, fast cuts, surround sound, and narrative disruption – all delivered with mischievous humor. Images, such as a swimming frog or snowy street scene, are followed by statements of love and implied violence. These are inter-cut with strange, disconnected images, such as close-ups of flowers, body parts or food.

The mood of the film gradually becomes darker and more unsettling, though nothing is stated directly. The growing intensity of the film is reinforced by the oppressive rhythm of a drum which accompanies snatches of music and speech. As with Prouvost's other films, the pace tests the limits of perception and makes it hard to take in every image and comment. Repeated viewing subtly shifts what is understood each time, as Prouvost highlights the slipperiness of meaning and notions of reality.

Prouvost’s object-based works operate not as props, but rather as potential storyboards for her films.  Her “story-lines”, as Prouvost refers to them, are indexes of objects, relics from her cinematic environments that break free of their frames to become “a different kind of 3D film”.

The artist’s black-and-white painted signs play on errors of translation between her native French and English. Personifying descriptions such as “This Sign Did See You Before You Even Looked” or extraordinary invocations such as “Ideally Here Would Be a Whale Slowly Swimming in the Middle of the Room Moving the Air Gently with its Tale” mirror Prouvost’s use of text within film work.

Prouvost lifts film into reality and back again. One work gets lost in another as images are translated into sound pieces, performances, videos, painting and installation, finding ways with which to experience the same story differently.

participants70 guideline70 information70 press70 essays70