Sylvie Fleury mines twentieth-century Modernism and contemporary consumer culture to produce ambiguous works of sculpture, painting and installations. An approximation of high and mass culture often runs through her practice, as a way to expose the familiarities between the art market and the circulation of consumer commodities. Fleury is well known for her playful customisation of iconic Modernist works. For instance, in Pucci Paintings, 1992, she reinserted into the art world, a pattern that had been appropriated from early Modernist abstraction by the famed fashion house. In Walking on Carl Andre, 1997, she filmed the stiletto-clad legs of models as they strutted over floor pieces by the artist, and the concept of her Zylon Paintings – spray painted canvases in the vein of American Action painting – permitted the owner to modify the colour scheme of the work according to seasonal trend. Further customisation pieces include: denim canvases mounted on stretchers that bear Fontana-like slashes, brightly coloured fake fur patches forming a series of Schmusebild (Cuddly Paintings) that imitate Malevich’s infamous Black Square and, in works such as Tableau No. 1, 1992, fur adorns geometric designs akin to Mondrian. Upscaling the canonical works of male-centric Modernism with sensual, feminine flourishes serves a dual-purpose for the artist. Not only does it renegotiate the hierarchies of gender within artistic tradition, it also draws attention to the failures of radical twentieth-century avant-garde gestures, whose motifs have long-been co-opted by consumer culture in a deluge of copycat home wares and soft furnishings.
Text courtesy Sprüth Magers.
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