Review: Laure Prouvost in Los Angeles

Los Angeles
Laure Prouvost

“A Way to Leak, Lick, Leek”
Fahrenheit // Through April 9

A squid produces lingering splatters of ink; an ice cream cone melts and drips over a manicured young hand; a raw egg, crushed in one palm, oozes through the fingers of another—in Laure Prouvost’s work in video and installation, the traces left by people are messy, and sensorial memories are incoherent. The hallucinatory and freeing worlds she creates are all-encompassing, filled with heart-pounding anxiety, boundless drifts of hazy musings, and holes in time and space.

“A Way to Leak, Lick, Leek,” the French artist’s first Los Angeles solo exhibition, forms a floating world, complete with its own debris. An enormous puddle of Pacific-blue resin covers the space, trapping remnants of Prouvost’s films and life: a pineapple top, halved eggshells, keyboards, iPads, dead branches, and outdated cell phones, one of which is still playing a film. Decorated with softening potted palms and a pair of extracted, beat-up car seats, the space becomes an asphyxiating theater built to accommodate her new film, Lick to the Past. The result of Prouvost’s residency at Fahrenheit and several months of absorbing Los Angeles’s visual culture, the film is an eight-minute-long sequence containing overlaid images that are slithering and carnal in nature: pink lips, nipples, tongues, and raspberries, as well as a group of high-school-age friends in Los Angeles sitting on the hood of a single car, contemplating hungry, animal recourse to the plastic that is ostensibly drowning them. “I don’t want to be here licking my TV every night, turning into the plastic that’s slowly covering us,” says one. This dialogue is accompanied by a mix of discordant narration from the artist and a hypnotizing, stripped-down beat.

Outside the screen, a cold, blue watercolor washes over the walls surrounding the resin island; a side room displays an annotated road map, faintly rendered drawings, and a tiny projection of Exhausted Video, another new film of Provoust’s. Meanwhile, back inside Lick to the Past, the gang piles high into their single white car, joyriding through iridescent, oily spills of the L.A. River straight into a fuchsia-and-apricot sunset and blasting Frank Ocean until night falls. Weaving limbs and singing along, they reach their uncertain destination, the familiar electric chime of an incoming text obliging both a question and an answer: “Are we there yet?”

Modern Painters, May 2016

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