2 parts: various dimensions
Acrylic on wall and canvas
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by the artist (wallpainting)
Purchase made possible by the bequest of Elisabeth Lauener (painting)
The Eternal Wow
Free Buren (gold, purple, white)
Since the beginning of her artistic career, Sylvie Fleury (born 1961 in Geneva, Switzerland), has become primarily famous for her objects and installations that hold up a mirror to the brand fetishism of Western consumer society, with its thirst for luxury goods and glamor. In her first show in the Galerie Rivolta in Lausanne in 1990, she exhibited the results of a major shopping spree in the form of ten shopping bags filled with expensive and exclusive luxury goods, still in their original packaging, placed on the floor in the corner of the gallery. Whether she arranges found objects for display, presents a pair of Gucci high heels cast in chromed bronze (“Gucci Shoes,” 1999), flaunts a gold-plated shopping cart on a reflecting pedestal (“Le Caddy,” 2000), or plays with vials and labels of expensive perfume brands, Fleury’s works are less about the blatant criticism of consumerism and more about how the world of fashion and cosmetics (despite being so elusive) seems to make promises and elicit desire – and how easily we are seduced.
The way Sylvie Fleury over-aestheticizes exclusive products and transports them into the art world can be read as both homage and pastiche. The fine balance between tribute and humorous deconstruction is also prominent in her works focusing on male artists – particularly Minimal, Conceptual, and Concrete and Constructivist artists – in which she subverts the artists’ esthetic agendas through a shift in context. She creates paintings with the compositions and colors of Piet Mondrian’s Neo-plastic painting style, for example, but fills the different color fields with plush. In another project for the opening of the major exhibition of the collection “Um die Ecke denken” in the Museum Haus Konstruktiv in 2016, the artist had women walk around in cocktail dresses reminiscent of the Mondrian dresses in Yves Saint Laurent’s fall collection from 1965. Fleury’s works in the Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv also toy with the seriousness of art concepts associated with masculinity, expanding or modifying them in small ways. In a direct reference to the vertical stripes that have been a trademark of the French artist Daniel Buren for decades, Fleury created a site-specific wall work for the exhibition “Thinking Outside the Box” that consists of the wall painting “The Eternal Wow” and the canvas painting “Free Buren” in which Buren’s signature stripes are bent into a three-dimensional bulge in an ironic interpretation of his strict compositions.
Sylvie Fleury has presented her objects, pictures, installations, and videos in many exhibitions, including solo shows at the Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2016); the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga (2011); the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Genéve (2008); and the Kunsthalle Wien (2006). Fleury was awarded the prestigious “Prix de la Société des Arts de Genève” in 2015.