‘…this page is super slow and frustrating it’s really hard to turn it; this page is so slimly; this is the wrong page; this page is so heavy.’
What is it to make an artist book about oneself? To construct a biography in which the formal structures and chapter divisions develop a narrative, into which the self dissolves?
Laure Prouvost explores the processes of narrative, translation and reflection, and the substantial mis-communications, cultural slippages, inventive opportunities and transformations inherent to these processes. Each mis-translation allows a new episode or incident to form that can disorder and reassemble its origin. In this project she uses the material format and expectations of the artist book as a means to make new work. In translating video, painting and sound onto the printed pages Prouvost instills the object with emotion and a sensorial self-awareness, and invites the reader to share ‘the artist’s’ psychological experience. Annotations and drawings that make reference to the protocols of the book, ‘This page does not need you to exist, this page is so heavy to turn, this text like the sound of your voice when reading these words’ provoke a physical and affective relationship with the texts and images presented.
The Artist Book includes multi-voiced biographies by anonymous contributors, that combine illustrated fantasies, anecdotes and vignettes of the artist, alongside collages of the artist’s studio, personal communications and a film on paper. These and other sections demonstrate Prouvost’s peculiar and complex navigation of influence, humour, art history and methodologies that informs her idiosyncratic language. Insistent gesticulations and perceptual cues guide the reader’s attention and transmit information, as the subject, or narrator, merges with the book itself.
Born in France, Laure Prouvost lives and works in London and has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. Her recent projects include a solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery as the recipient of the Max Mara Prize for Women; Schwitters in Britain, Tate Britain, London; Laure Prouvost, The Hepworth, Wakefield and presentations at CCA, Glasgow; Portikus, Frankfurt; Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp and the National Centre for Contemporary Art, Moscow. She has screened work in film festivals internationally and won the Principal Prize at both the 56th and 57th Oberhausen Film Festivals. Her feature-length film The Wanderer (a project in six sequences), produced by FLAMIN Productions was premiered at the Rio Cinema, Hackney in 2012; a sequence of the film, together with an installation was commissioned by Book Works and Spike Island, Bristol, as part of Again, A Time Machine at Spike Island, Bristol. Prouvost has been nominated for the Turner Prize 2013.
The Artist Book is published by Book Works; edition of 1,000 copies; b/w and colour; 296pp; designed by Fraser Muggeridge Studio; 230 x 155mm ISBN 978 1 906012 44 1 – Price £20.00
Book Works is funded by Arts Council England and this publication is generously supported by The Henry Moore Foundation.