Lisson Gallery

Laure Prouvost at the 58th Venice Biennale

Laure Prouvost at the 58th Venice Biennale

The cornerstone of Laure Prouvost’s artistic project for the French Pavilion is a fictional film, They Parlaient Idéale, 2019. It takes the form of an initiatory journey, a joyous saga filmed over the course of a road trip through France - from the Parisian suburbs to the north of France, from the Palais Idéal built by the Facteur Cheval between 1879 and 1912 at Hauterives in the Drôme, southern eastern France to the Mediterranean Sea - and finally to Venice. Other featured architectures reflect the themes of utopia running through the project. Firstly, there is The Tours Nuage of the Cité Pablo Picasso in Nanterre, built between 1973 and 1981, and the Cité de La Grande Borne in Grigny, erected between 1967 and 1971, both designed by the architect Émile Aillaud with assistance from his daughter. Parts of the video were also filmed in Marseille – a hub of cultural and commercial exchange, as well as a city of immigration and a port open on the Mediterranean that has left an enduring mark on French history and culture.

The film, which is full of dialogue and idioms, is based on a script co-written by the artist and various contributors, in French and English with some Italian, Arabic or Dutch passages. The dialogues are performed by a dozen of characters of different ages and backgrounds, with specific performance skills: magic, dance, music, etc. A sculptural installation in situ enriches and develops the themes of the film, inside and outside the pavilion, using typical processes of the artist’s practise, such as leftover objects from the film, resin, clay, glass, plants or water vapour. The very context of Venice, a floating city built on water and by water, a city of facade and backstage, appears as a source of inspiration for the concept of the project, and can be found at the heart of both the film and the installation.

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