Melting into one another ho hot chaud it heating dip, 2020.
Installation, curtains, blown glass, clay, squid ink, water, branches, stones, films.
Installation view at Kunsthalle Lissabon (detail). Photo Bruno Lopes.

Ready to plunge you underground, the exhibition Laure Prouvost had anticipated in Kunsthalle Lissabon was another one of her fantastical underwater worlds. Well known for her transformations of space filled with draping material and tentacular elements, in “Melting into one another, ho hot chaud it’s heating dip exhibition and immersive installation was interjected with a dose of reality as the gallery space shut its doors due to health concerns of the COVID19 pandemic. Unable to attend the show in person, the Adrastus Collection did manage to get a glimpse of what the show was like, thanks to the participation of her representative gallery carlier | gebauer, Madrid in support of this initiative.

The French artist has been creating surreal environments through many types of mediums and now the Adrastus Collection has been offered a rare sighting into her surrealist mind, where dreams and reality merge through the use of natural elements.

Adrastus Collection (AC): We have been lucky enough to see some images of the show, “In Melting into one another, ho hot chaud it’s heating dip” and in almost every shot there is an image of snake-light creature, dark in color and with an apparent sleek but ominous appearance, what is its meaning to the show as we have not seen this in previous works?

Laure Prouvost (LP): It still refers to the octopus but this time a tired, smoking mother octopus. Swimming in ink being relaxed in her own elements – her own shit, her own protective device that is the ink, we were really entering a private space in Lisbon the private space of the mother, where the viewer could slip smell get touched by humid fabrics…

 

AC: In a lot of your recent work the octopus is a recurring motif, and there are these references to tentacles, which for us suggests a sensation for touch. In the environment of today, what does this motif mean for you? Following on from that idea of touch, do you think society has been become desensitized? How can we re-bring consciousness to our lives, in light of what is happening around us?

LP:  I won’t attempt to be a prophet but nature and the physical is a very important and magical side of this planet and our interaction with it, to keep our many senses alert and not just the mental work of the brain, but also its senses. The fascinating thing with the octopus tentacles is, that the brains are all over the tentacles, so it feels and thinks at the same time.  It is one thing without hierarchy it is immediate. Can we be all at once more connected not just in terms of communication with machines but with all our senses?

 

AC: How will this new era impact the process of your creation? How do you think the Covid will reshape the world? Will it be a reset or a transformation?

LP: As most of us I hope it is an awakening time to examine the way we are doing things: the production, the movement, and the respect we have with all elements. I think it will be a fabulous time for new thinking, recovering, new solutions, and new ways of exchanging. We will need to push things to act more consciously, but also bringing in intimacy the one to one and be more active in the way we produce and also create art. 

Melting into one another ho hot chaud it heating dip, 2020.
Installation, curtains, blown glass, clay, squid ink, water, branches, stones, films.
Installation view at Kunsthalle Lissabon (detail). Photo Bruno Lopes.

Melting into one another ho hot chaud it heating dip, 2020.
Installation, curtains, blown glass, clay, squid ink, water, branches, stones, films.
Installation view at Kunsthalle Lissabon (detail). Photo Bruno Lopes.

The Turner Prize-winning artist represented France at the 2019 Biennale, with her project “Deep See Blue Surrounding You, and following on from this concept both shows present a video and installation work in which “liquid modernity” is represented through the tentacular body of an octopus. [1] Prouvost created a work titled “Wantee, which told a story of her fictional grandfather’s disappearance down a tunnel which he dug under the house and conferred her the Turner Prize in 2013. She continues her imaginative storytelling in “Melting into one another, ho hot chaud it’s heating dip” and continues to mourn her loss, “When you go down the tunnel, you don’t know which way to go,” she told reporters in 2019.[2] What we see now is an even deeper unveiling of her subconscious, quite literally a melting of two boiling pots. Laure highlights this in her words, “we were really entering a private space in Lisbon the private space of the mother, where the viewer could slip smell get touched by humid fabrics…”

However, this exhibition felt darker than others, psychically blacking out spaces of the gallery in darkness and spotlighting the works in a more ominous fashion. Laure spoke of this when she mentions, “I hope it is an awakening time to examine the way we are doing things”. This moment of darkness for the world could not come at a better time for Laure’s exhibition and reference to motherhood. The mother, much like mother earth, must too be interacted with in a thoughtful and feeling fashion. For now, we have slipped into unchartered waters, and the need to become more conscious of the movement and actions we are creating is more important than ever before. The darkness and boiling point has met almost the exact dates of Laure’s exhibition, yet she says she doesn’t want to attempt to be a prophet…

All images courtesy of the artist and carlier | gebauer Berlin, Madrid. Photo Bruno Lopes, Kunsthalle Lissabon – Laure Prouvost “Melting into one another ho hot chaud it heating dip.”


[1] Little, Harriet Fitch. “The Weird Conceptual Universe of the Artist Laure Prouvost.” Financial Times, 3 May 2019, www.ft.com/content/535d25d6-6a5d-11e9-9ff9-8c855179f1c4.

[2] Ibid.