Camille Henrot gained international recognition in 2013, when she was awarded the Silver Lion at the 55th Venice Biennale for her video Grosse Fatigue. In recent years Henrot’s profile has continued to grow through a number of solo and group exhibitions in international institutions, including solo show at Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna, 2017), Fondazione Memmo (Rome, 2016), and the New Museum (New York, 2014). This fall, she will present a carte blanche at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo.
Henrot’s diverse practice encompasses video, sculpture, drawing, and installation. She takes inspiration from a breadth of disciplines, including anthropology, literature, and natural history. Through these fields, Henrot offers her own unique observations on the ways in which knowledge is recorded, and how such knowledge becomes transformed as it moves across cultures. Her exploration of these themes is coupled with an awareness of how the rise of the digital has altered our relation to everything from the natural world to spirituality.
In two of Henrot’s early works, Metawolf (2002) and Dying Living Woman (2005), found footage from sci-fi and horror films is obscured by the artist’s scribblings, subtly subverting the narrative conventions of both genres. Natural History of Art (2009) places an anthropological gaze on both plants in a greenhouse and art-handlers installing an exhibition. Le Songe de Poliphile /The Strife of Love in a Dream (2011) focuses on various techniques employed to conquer fear, such as pilgrimages to holy places, the production of anti-anxiety medication, and the extraction of snake venom. In her film, Henrot explores the snake as an ambiguous symbol in both Eastern and Western cultures, at once deadly and protective. The snake emerges as the source of human knowledge and imagination, and Le Songe de Poliphile /The Strife of Love in a Dream encourages the viewer to consider the relation between cultural myths and fear.
This exhibition presents nine films made between 2002 and 2011, in a single screening around an hour in duration. Together, these works challenge traditional assumptions about memory, film, and cultural dialogues, and prompt the viewer to question the conventions by which the world is understood. Through this process, the program is sure to offer us new ways of looking at the world.
Le Songe de Poliphile / The Strife of Love in a Dream
Video 11 min. 40 sec.
Production: Maharaja Films; With the support of Centre Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne; Centre national des arts plastiques and the Mairie de Paris - Département de l'Art dans la ville
Courtesy: kamel mennour, Paris/London; Centre Pompidou, Paris
© ADAGP, Paris & JASPAR, Tokyo, 2017