Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac presents an exhibition of new works by Sylvie Fleury.
Since the early 1990s, Sylvie Fleury enjoyed creating at the crossroads of genres. An assertive feminist, she explores the codes of femininity and masculinity, art and fashion, in the light of contemporary consumerism. Formally unclassifiable, her work borrows from both the ready-made tradition and the formal vocabulary of pop art and minimal art. In this sense, it reflects and anticipates her time as much as it participates in it. Since her famous Shopping Bags , a series of readymade sculptures in which she took luxury brand bags out of their context, her interest in appropriating objects from the world of luxury has always been a striking feature of her artistic practice.
For this new series of works, Fleury has expanded make-up palettes to a monumental scale. By diverting these cosmetic objects, she questions the structures of desire and power that are attached to them. Hanging on the wall like abstract paintings, the works also contribute to a critical discourse on art history and on the systems of recognition and legitimacy set up within the art world itself. “When I used bags from places where shopping was cool at the time, I also referred to the galleries and the fact that they only showed artists whose names appeared in Artforum,” Fleury recalls.
For this exhibition, the artist uses the codes of a well-identified pictorial genre, the shaped canvas , to explore its grey areas. Frequently described as a hybrid genre between painting and sculpture, it is considered an epigone of geometric abstraction and widely associated with a desire to penetrate real space. Sylvie Fleury’s new paintings are intended to act as the feminist counterpoint to the paradigm defined in 1964 in the exhibition organized by Lawrence Alloway at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Entitled The Shaped Canvas, it featured works by the advocates – all male – of this new trend: Paul Feeley, Sven Lukin, Richard Smith, Frank Stella, Neil Williams.
The minimal language, which here translates into the repetition of the same elements, the reduction of forms and the use of industrial materials, is part of the perspective initiated by her predecessors, that of a painting that celebrates the tensions at play in the perception of the internal structure and the general form, between the pictorial aspect and three-dimensionality, between the literal dimension of representation and the illusion games.Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London · Paris · Salzburg. Photos: Charles Duprat © Sylvie Fleury