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Sylvie Fleury 49000

An exhibition in the Museum of Contemporary Art | ZKM Karlsruhe
2 June - 26 August 2001

The Genevan artist Sylvie Fleury (born 1961) is famous for her staged presentations of products stemming from the glamorous world of fashion and modern consumerism. While at first glance her works may seem like unequivocal confirmation of consumer-society values, Fleury unfailingly delivers a subtle comment on the trappings of mere illusion. The presentation and surfaces of her objects, wall paintings and installations take on an intrinsic value that leaves behind product promotion or creatively presented brand-names. The slogans she latches onto are more than the 'emblems' of internationally famous couturiers, perfumeries or glossy magazines. By using these codes, Fleury specifies the human yearnings and ideals associated with the luxury merchandise ('Eternity').

Fleuryís recent output has been granting increasing importance to the effects emanating from colours, magical light phenomena and shining surfaces. In Karlsruhe, this shift of emphasis for the first time becomes apparent in a show of Fleury's work. One example is '8' ñ a gold-lacquered ball whose interior is lined with crystals and black fabric and contains a seat. Viewers can shut themselves up in the ball as they might inside a space capsule. In conjunction with esotericism (which inspired the allusion to the harmonious radiation frequency '49000' in the show's title), the p sychology of colours determines the character of many works that demonstrate the artist's exploration of new territory transcending her analysis of the fashion world's product fetishism. The foreground is occupied by the aura, beauty, even sacral nature, of the objects she places in scene. A humorous counterpoint is provided by the huge, pop-art dog toys scattered around one of the two light courts housing the museum.

Alongside some classic works of the 1990s (e.g. "First Spaceship On Venusî, "Kelly Bagî), the show is devoted mainly to works produced over the past two years, with a range extending to Fleury's ëaura photographsí of fellow artists as well as several imposing site-specific ensembles produced for the Museum of Contemporary Art | ZKM. Visitors will be able to view more than 60 pieces in all.

The artist is responsible for the design of the exhibition catalogue edited by Götz Adriani (and published by HatjeCantz, Ostfildern-Ruit). Alongside numerous full-page illustrations, it includes interviews and essays by Sylvie Fleury, Parker Williams, Ralph Melcher (curator of the show) and Andreas Schalhorn.

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