‘Is there really a thing such as a private space today?’ asks French performance and installation artist, Lili Reynaud-Dewar. Working between Grenoble and Geneva, the artist’s latest exhibition at Clearing, Brussels examines this and more.
‘Recently, I started intersecting these abstract dance bits with elements of my life in the studio (or the study) – making things, taking phone calls, looking at myself in the mirror, cleaning up the space, smoking, reading, sitting at my desk, naked and my entire body covered with dark make-up’. These videos make an appearance in the exhibition, projected large on white-washed walls.
There are also long, expressive curtains that sheath the windows, shutting the public out from the space but creating a contained public space inside. The curtains are theatrical, brilliant white, some splattered at the base with pillar-box red, looking a little Tarantino-esque, as though they’ve witnessed a graphic blood bath. Curtains similarly splattered with black ink sit downstairs, some covered with text about privacy and intimacy in both French and English. The violent splats across the base of all the curtains is clearly visible from the street outside, a provocative invitation to come and explore further.
Reynaud-Dewar’s inked up body mirrors these two tones –the red enhancing the artist’s naked flesh, the black suggesting spilled words where the ink has merged into one. Reynaud-Dewar speaks of a merging of ideas and forms for artists, that makes the work unrecognisable eventually. ‘What do we do with the circulation of our artworks from one space to the other, from this capacity we have gained to adapt and to conform to a huge variety of formats, from this sometimes passive phenomenon that we encounter on seeing our works displayed on screens in such ways that we might not even recognise them?’
My Epidemic (a body as public as a book can be) is showing at Clearing, Brussels until September 13.