Ready to blossom and overgrow the past
From one inspiring woman to another, we visited the Laure Prouvost exhibition at M HKA Antwerp together with Charline Tyberghein. The young art graduate recently received the KoMASK Masters Salon Painting Award for her work Get Home, and has already held her first solo-exhibition One Trick Phony, with pieces that are calm and calculated, but play with depth in a demonstrative way. Same goes for the largest exhibition of the work of Laure Prouvost, showing the work of an artist who develops a complex pattern of thought through various artistic languages. Miles Fischler joined us and shot these beautiful pictures.
Interview by Laura-Andréa Callewaert
Photos shot by Miles Fischler at M HKA, Antwerp
Painting has a therapeutic value for me. I try to make something worthy out of a negative emotion
How would you describe your own work?
I would describe it as very simple, actually [laughs]. I make figurative paintings of daily objects that create some sort of optical illusion. Every painting explains a personal experience of mine, that is translated into interactions between those everyday objects. Painting has a therapeutic value for me. I try to make something worthy out of a negative emotion, so that it at least brings me something. My work isn’t about big social nor political problems; it just translates who I am through my day to day stories.
What are your main sources of inspiration?
This is a tough question, because my inspiration comes from so many different things in my daily life. I can be equally inspired by a Magritte painting as I can be by a traffic sign. So, it depends.
What do you need in order to create?
I can’t function in a busy environment; I need peace, some sort of steadiness in order to create. Having my own space is very important as well. I’m living a very structured life at the moment, every day is the same, which I like a lot. I wake up early, work all day in my studio and go to sleep early. My creation process starts off in a very banal way, by seeing an object and transforming its shape in my imagination. It’s almost like a short movie that is played in my head. I see a candle for example and my mind will give it a whole other dimension, making it more interesting.
How do you feel walking around in a museum?
It’s a different experience every time. When I walk around in a more classical museum with ancient paintings where I have a grip on the history behind it, I feel very relaxed. There’s a figurative image in front of you and it’s easy to understand. But when it’s a contemporary museum, like today, where I don’t really understand what’s going on, I feel more stressed. Then I feel like I have to have some sort of opinion about it, but sometimes I just don’t have one. Instead of being chill and enjoying the exhibition, I can feel really anxious about it. It’s so ridiculous, I know, but I’m working on it [laughs].
Which was your favourite work from the exhibition?
Laure Provoust – Wantee. It’s a video about a fictional grandfather who was an artist as well. He was digging a tunnel to Africa underneath the house. But the essence is how Laure tried to explain how it feels like to be an artist who didn’t become famous. You have all these pieces of art laying around but what to do with it if no one wants it? So they’ve turned the works in more practical objects than what they were meant for. An armchair broke? We’ll use one of the sculptures to fix it. Questioning the line between artwork and utensil. A napkin that Andy Warhol used will nowadays go on sale for 50 000 dollars, so to speak. And then you have all these other talented artists who leave this great legacy that nobody wants.
Laure tried to explain how it feels like to be an artist who didn’t become famous. You have all these pieces of art laying around but what to do with it if no one wants it?
Can you link the exhibition to your own work?
I find it hard to link my work to that of someone else. I guess that’s easier for an outsider to do. Maybe the sense of humour? Her work is very childish in a way. People often tell me my work is funny to them, but that’s not necessarily my intention [laughs]. Or maybe the banality and melancholy of both of our works, we push it so far that it becomes comic. In that way, I can see a link between our work!
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m focusing on my upcoming exhibition soft news at Beursschouwburg from the 6th of April to the beginning of May. A new space opened there a few months ago. It’s not a commercial space, which gives me a big sense of freedom and I really like that. I’m very excited about it!
People often tell me my work is funny to them, but that’s not necessarily my intention