Winner of the prestigious Turner Prize in 2013, Laure Prouvost has made her mark on the international scene with her immersive, narrative installations that thrust the public into poetic, fictional worlds that blend humour and fantasy. This new exhibition is inhabited by strange characters and resonates with enigmatic messages staged as works of art in their own right. A fictional travel agency, Deep Travel Ink, serves as the point of entry into the artist’s imagination and lends its name to the exhibition as a whole.
An unknown family and a mysterious destination are the two recurring themes that structure this dive into a parallel reality alive with moving images. With humour and generosity, Laure Prouvost invites visitors to step into this subconscious world, where they are freed from the hegemonic regimes of money and information. Her fantastical works offer a host of different spaces open to interpretation, which lend themselves to poetic contemplation.
The subsequent exhibition at Atelier Hermès, “The Burning Love Song” by Sungsil Ryu, similarly deploys a fiction that is somehow truer than life. Sungsil Ryu is a Korean artist born in 1993, who was the 2021 laureate of the Hermès Foundation Missulsang, a prize dedicated to Korean art awarded by an international jury. The prize provided her with financial support and a production grant to pursue her satirical work on consumerist traditions in contemporary Korea. In “The Burning Love Song”, she reactivates her fictional character Dae Wang Lee, who heads up a funeral home for dogs. As they take part in a ceremony where entrepreneurial talent edges out grief, viewers come to understand the extent to which profit relies on the manipulation of human desires and weaknesses. Across a series of different mediums, the young artist uses a humorous approach to create parallel worlds where death, not without irony, reveals a hidden face of capitalist Korean society.
Next up is a dreamlike project by Korean artist Hwayeon Nam (b. Seoul, 1979). Comprising three new pieces, the exhibition “GABRIEL” invites us to reflect upon the passage of time through the figure of the archangel. A video that takes its name from that of the exhibition assembles a host of signs for events that have not yet taken place. This strangeness is presaged by a sound sculpture, Coda – a musical term designating the final passage of a piece –, which acts as an introduction. Henceforth, visitors are immersed in a non-linear, paradoxical temporality, potentially opening onto a parallel world through Window-Dream. This work offers the welcome possibility of an escape, while the curtains that frame it simultaneously call to mind an imagined chamber music, representations of the Annunciation, and situations of isolation endured by many during the pandemic. In this exhibition hanging between dream and reality, Hwayeon Nam offers a new perspective on the irreversible flow of time.