Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Sylvie Fleury

Smudge Definition (Purple), 1996
silkscreen and acrylic on canvas
110.0 x 110.0 cm
The pieces Smudge Definition, Soothe and Shield are emblematic of the processes of appropriation and transformation of motifs that Sylvie Fleury employs in her art practice. Her reformulation of the monochrome artwork – here white under the hair of a synthetic fur, elsewhere pink and mauve in the familiar tones of cosmetic blusher – refers both to a practice of citing the icons of modernity and to the stereotypes of female sensibility.

Fleury replays avant-garde movements here but introduces a feminine touch with the hairpins, the textures of the makeup, the fashion textiles and the signs and slogans of cosmetics. The domains of art become the playground of an artist who delights in using them as though they were any store of forms. In doing so, Fleury points up the network of borrowed and pirated elements drawn from fields that seem altogether ill-assorted at first glance. Thus beauty care makes use of artistic vocabularies to appeal to the potential buyer whilst the art sphere borrows from luxury goods, beauty products and advertising graphics in a constant exchange between the world of art and daily life.

In Fleury’s work, a minimal and conceptual aesthetic in the manner of a Joseph Kosuth serves to camouflage the neat turns of phrase of beauty products, which attain a solemn, critical dimension they are denied in the field of cosmetics; conversely conceptual maxims are stripped of their aura of formal radicalness when inserted in sparkling square paintings made with Swarovski crystal. They become modern slogans exalting well-being (Soothe and Shield) that produce an effect which is both humorous and almost mystical.

For this kind of art practice, Fleury engineers a reversal of the qualities attributed to abstract painting like austerity and radicalness, putting in their place playful and tactile properties. Behind the apparent triviality and sham casualness, she shakes up and challenges the codes of representation whilst extending the great questions the 20th century’s avant-garde movements raised with the ready-made, geometric abstraction and appropriationism.
Sylvie Fleury, Smudge Definition (Purple), 1996