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Sylvie Fleury

Born in Geneva in 1961, Sylvie Fleury attended a school of photography in New York in the early 1980s and finished the rest of her formal training on her own, notably working for John M Armleder as his assistant.

Prolific and multifaceted, she is interested in a multitude of cultural fields on the fringes of the art world. Her take on female consumerism and hedonism found expression in her very first show in 1990: between works by Olivier Mosset and Armleder at the Galerie Rivolta, she set out directly on the gallery floor her first collection of Shopping Bags, a range of bags from luxury boutiques that was the result of an afternoon of shopping. This provocative, iconoclastic gesture – claiming that the act of consuming is an artistic one – immediately made a name for her on the Swiss and international art scene.

The specificity of her work is based on the reuse of existing, well-known motifs and objects, and their gradual shifting over into aesthetic forms. Fleury also introduces into her work formal elements from Minimalism and Pop Art, borrowing their heroic signs whilst dressing them up in a female role. More recently her affinity with esoteric practices has led her to design groups of artworks relating to yoga, extraterrestrial life and divination.

Her irreverent vocabulary is demonstrably feminine but without the militant struggle that accompanied earlier generations of women artists. Fleury adopts a sly, oblique approach to their feminist discourse, substituting for it the vocabulary of a woman artist who is rid of her complexes, who accepts the diversity of her references. Rather than pass judgement on this world haunted by forms and styles, Fleury prefers the diagnosis of consumer society. Since 1991 she has regularly exhibited in Switzerland, France, Germany and the United States; an important retrospective was devoted to her at Mamco in Geneva in 2009.