Karma International presents Your Dress Is More Beautiful, a solo exhibition
with Geneva-based artist Sylvie Fleury.
The exhibition, featuring new and older works, renders Fleury’s ability to create a stage-like presentation of her work and develop multilayered strains of narration. The prominent vintage Triumph Bonneville, entitled Every Woman Has a Purple Bike Inside, is inspired by her affinity for bikes and automobiles, as well as a statement from feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s biographical collection of essays, My Life on the Road. The story is derived from Steinem’s encounter with leather-clad bikers, specifically a woman who proudly approached her and showed off her purple Harley-Davidson. Steinem writes, “I’ve come to believe that, inside each of us has a purple motorcycle. We have only to discover it and ride.” The plush pink velvet mattress features an iconic Paco Rabanne minidress, Aviatorshaped sunglasses reminiscent of Steinem’s, and 70s magazines from the feminist publication, Ms., that Steinem founded. Fleury’s shimmering asphalt road paintings are scattered around the space, featuring one on a pedestal with amethysts and the other against the wall. The presentation also contains L’oeil Du Vampire (yellow), a fiberglass sculpture of an albino-bat from the cartoon Anastasia and an eye that has the ability to pop out and back in. Her iconic neons, including classic slogans used in advertising such as BE AMAZING, ETERNITY NOW and a spiral-shaped neon, surround the show. The two-tone walls resemble an acid and dark wash denim, complimentary of a denim slashed work, recontextualizing Lucio Fontana’s Concetto Speziale. While the body of works are widespread and diverse, they are tied together by the important themes explored in Fleury’s oeuvre such as appropriation, marketing and fashion. The latter, she states, has been of interest to her since the beginning of her career for its status as a “well-constructed system founded on creation, distribution, recycling and citation.”
Fleury’s critical practice objectifies and monumentalizes consumerist culture in her readymades sculptures and performative environments. She also ascribes dark qualities to the work, often with a biting sense of humor that questions the motives and messages of capitalism. Her work scrutinizes the virtues of consumer culture and the seduction of glamour as a larger exploration of the tension between art and fashion as well as their relationships to branding and advertising.