The Eva Presenhuber Gallery is delighted to present an exhibition of new works by the artist Sylvie Fleury, born in Geneva in 1961. The thematic focus of the internationally known artist, whose work has been exhibited at the Tate Gallery Liverpool and the Museum Moderner Kunst in Frankfurt, has centered on particular social phenomena since the late 1980s. These phenomena include the transformation of mundane, everyday objects into fetishes, the ascendance of luxury in society’s estimation, and the curious interchangeability of high culture with mass culture.
Typically, Fleury’s technique consists of an initial portrayal of a characteristic form that is then enriched, enlarged, and further developed through the use of diverse media. Form, color, and the graphic shaping of razor blades, lipsticks, shopping carts, or fashion magazines become independent visual systems of representation in their own right, entering a new asthetic scope. Her references to the American Object Art of the 1980s, such as the quotidian and kitsch products of Haim Steinbach and Jeff Koon, are obvious. Her references to the merging of the 1960s Pop Art movement with the background influences of mass consumption and mass media are also clear.
In her second solo exhibition with Eva Presenhuber since 2000, new sculptures, paintings, photographs, and a video installation will be on display. Through these diverse media, Fleury further juxtaposes and explores the fetishes and mechanisms of power between the sexes.
The exhibit space is dominated by two golden cages. Fleury lends the proverbial golden cage—inside which women of the most diverse cultural circles find themselves imprisoned—a very real form and presence. As closer scrutiny reveals, however, she cleverly undermines the perfection and symmetry of the minimalistic sculpture: there are clear signs of escape. Distorted, golden bars give evidence of the flight of a woman from her prison; indeed, the liberation of the woman has occurred. What remains, however, is the wrapping of a social illusion, whose general acceptance in society still persists.
An installation of golden tyres demonstrates Fleury’s interest in the fascination with speed and cars. The tyres were fashioned from ceramic materials into a fountain, and thus become similar to those products of, for example, motor enthusiasts, who transform auto parts into household objects in order to be surrounded permanently by reminders of their fetish. The function of the tyres, with their emission of steam, underscores Fleury’s interest in the esoteric.
The installed works in the exhibition are complemented by a wall-painting (a lipsticked mouth effecting a kiss) and screen-prints. Later works are screenprints of multicoloured, enormous handcuffs on leather, and together with the golden cages, invoke images of sexual practices, perhaps even Sado-masochism.
The video installations are displayed within a particular framework. The prevailing mood of the exhibition is reinforced by Fleury’s video, which with its digital quality reminds one of a Webcam film. Fleury walks with metal high heels over silver Christmas tree decorations, which crack and shatter. The camera is directed at her feet while Christmas music plays throughout, evoking yet further a fetishist’s scenario.
Fetishism is based largely on the questioning of values and traditional relationships of power; it is usually private, however, and thus is conducted within hidden spheres of life. Fleury makes it openly visible, however, placing it where one might not have expected to see it.
In this year’s Art Unlimited in Basel, the Eva Presenhuber Gallery and Galerie Sprüth/Magers will present the work 8, 2000 by Sylvie Fleury. The 2.5-meter high installation consists of a yacht with golden fiberglass wrapping and an interior decorated with Swarovski crystal.