LAURE PROUVOST, « GDM-GRAND DAD’S VISITOR CENTER », HANGARBICOCCA MILAN
Laure Prouvost : GDM – Grand Dad’s Visitor Center – Curated by Roberta Tenconi / Hangarbicocca Milan – 19 October 2016 – 9 April 2017
The solo exhibition “GDM – Grand Dad’s Visitor Center” by Laure Prouvost, is a Gesamtkunstwerk that brings together over fifteen works, including installations, videos and projections, sculptures and found objects: together, they form a personal museum dedicated to the artist’s grandfather, a place built in shifting layers, where architecture and content complete each other.
One of the most interesting figures of her generation, winner of the Turner Prize in 2013, Prouvost weaves intricate tales full of surreal humor, in work that emulates the constant proliferation and consumption of images typifying the communication methods of our time. Laure Prouvost’s work ranges freely between different systems of representation, alternating fiction, nonsense, and an imaginary, dreamlike world with the concrete reality of everyday life and human perceptions. Her projects combine a naïf, bric-a-brac aesthetic with ordinary objects and maze-like installations, as well as unstable structures and an elaborate use of technology.
“GDM – Grand Dad’s Visitor Center” is an exhibition that unfolds through disorienting spaces and paradoxical settings: a beauty parlor, mirrored walls and surfaces, tilted and angular rooms, dark and twisting corridors, an area where tea is served and a karaoke zone. The exhibition alternates light and sound, images and written words, moments of peaceful contemplation and outbursts of euphoria, in an entrancing journey that draws visitors in and demands their total engagement.
This project revolves around the story of Laure Prouvost’s grandfather, a prolific conceptual artist and close friend of famous German Dadaist Kurt Schwitters. After digging a long tunnel from his studio to Africa, he supposedly vanished into it one day for good, leaving his wife—Prouvost’s grandmother—as the sole guardian of his works. More specifically, the idea for the Visitor Center took shape in 2013 with the video installation Wantee, which includes several sculptures by this grandfather, now transformed into household objects, and shows her grandmother talking about the need to take care of them by creating this bizarre museum. The construction of the Visitor Center hints at a broader inquiry into the very meaning of museums, as places meant to preserve artworks for the future. In the video If It Was (2015) Prouvost challenges museum conventions: she imagines a place where people can dance and sing, where visitors are greeted with a warm kiss, and can do Zumba or pet the artworks. But above all, where the dark, dusty past takes on meaning in the present and future, where visitors can travel “through the tunnel of history” towards “other places.”
Images copyright the artist / Pirelli-Hangarbicocca Milan 2016 / Photos Agostino Osio