Camille Henrot, the French-born, New York City-based contemporary artist, will be celebrated in an Australian-first survey of works that take a playful and inventive approach to addressing life’s big questions, in May 2020.
Featuring key works created by the artist over the past decade, Camille Henrot: Play Your Part will include the immersive room-scale installation The Pale Fox 2014, a companion piece to Henrot’s award-winning film Grosse Fatigue 2013, for which she won the Silver Lion at the 55th Venice Biennale. Grosse Fatigue attempted to tell the story of the universe whereas The Pale Fox is a meditation on our shared desire to understand the world intimately through the objects that surround us. Characterised by what Henrot has called a ‘cataloguing psychosis’, this vast installation features en masse more than 500 objects encompassing photographs, sculptures, books and drawings, including objects made by the artist as well as collected via eBay.
The exhibition will also feature recent watercolours that explore aspects of human psychology, and the artist’s Interphones series of telephone sculptures that playfully draw attention to our relationship to authority and technology. In these interactive works, Henrot invites visitors to pick up a customised telephone and respond to prompts such as ‘Would you ever have sex at work? Is Google right about you? Are you gluten-free? Press control for yes. Enter for no.’
“From her early beginnings in film animation and music video, Camille Henrot has gone on to become one of the world’s most inventive and thoughtful contemporary artists,” said Tony Ellwood AM, Director, National Gallery of Victoria. “A meticulous researcher, Camille often draws on diverse disciplines in her art to offer us mesmerising insights into the complicated times in which we live, and she deftly uses humour to highlight and make sense of the peculiarities of daily life.”
In 2017, Henrot participated in the Carte Blanche series at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, resulting in the major survey exhibition Days are Dogs. For this exhibition, Henrot created the 3D film Saturday 2017, a work that draws connections between Seventh-day Adventist practices and humanity’s contemporary preoccupation with dieting, transparency, protest and aging. The film has recently been added to the NGV Collection. In the same year, Henrot participated in the inaugural NGV Triennial 2017 with the bronze sculpture Contrology 2016, which was also acquired for the NGV Collection, and takes a humorous approach towards exploring feelings around Monday – the first day of the working week. Both works will feature in Camille Henrot: Play Your Part.
Born in Paris in 1978, Henrot works across diverse media including sculpture, installation, film and watercolour, drawing upon wide-ranging fields such as cultural anthropology, museology, religion, literature, psychoanalysis, social media analysis, self-help, and online second-hand marketplaces, to reconsider established systems of knowledge. Henrot’s work has been the focus of solo exhibitions at Chisenhale Gallery, London; Fondazione Memmo, Rome; Schinkel Pavilion, Berlin; New Orleans Museum of Art; Musée du Jeu de Paume, Paris; and the New Museum, New York; and more recently at the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery in Tokyo, Japan.
A major monograph on the artist with contributions by a wide range of authors will be published by the NGV on the occasion of the exhibition.
Camille Henrot: Play Your Part will be on display at NGV International from 22 May – 4 October 2020. Free admission. Further information is available via the NGV website.