Laure Prouvost has a lot to say. Creating multifaceted, occasionally dizzying multimedia installations using wood, paint, video and various props, the 2013 Turner Prize Winner’s work is hyper-loaded in its signifiers and subjects, moving rapidly from the divine to the profane and back, all expressed with a masterful storytelling bent. It’s just this line, in fact, that the artist makes express use of in her first U.S. installation, occupying the lobby of the New Museum, telling a lightning-fast narrative of identity theft and financial scamming in the post-digital economy.
Laure Prouvost, For Forgetting, 2014 (still). Installation and video. Copyright the artist. Courtesy the artist and MOTINTERNATIONAL, London and BrusselsThe space is marked by a series of curved walls, bearing resemblance to an office interior or suburban home in equal measure, adorned with sheets of paper, paintings of house plants, and stock images of hands, seated figures and bathroom tiling. On some walls, Prouvost has fashioned the now infamous “Nigerian Prince” scam email, perhaps most fascinating for the level of cultural currency the scam has achieved in contemporary society. Viewers move along the wall, occasionally peering into windows where televisions are playing disjointed narratives and flickering sentences, surrounded by knockoff purses hang from the walls.
Prouvost seems fascinated with the shadow economies of the cultural and financial markets, examining both the prestige of money and the objects it buys, while almost simultaneously addressing the “easy way out” offered daily by spam email and phishing scams. In the center room, a shrouded black box, she exhibits her centerpiece video, which combines stories of desire and theft, money and manipulation.
It’s this simultaneity that makes Prouvost’s work so captivating, almost tacitly acknowledging the relationships between opportunity and desire that create bizarre conflations of reality and fantasy online. Prouvost seems not so interested in why someone would give their personal data to an anonymous email address, but what creates the situation for someone to so blatantly lie and ask for it to begin with.
Prouvost’s show is on view until April 13th.
Laure Prouvost: For Forgetting at New Museum [New Museum]