Metro Pictures and Kamel Mennour are delighted to present the paintings of Camille Henrot for the first time in this special two-part online exhibition. Henrot is an artist known for her diverse output. She was awarded the Silver Lion at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 for her film Grosse Fatigue; her ongoing series of floral arrangements grounded in the Sogetsu school’s tradition of ikebana has been included in one-person shows from the New Museum in New York (2014) to the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery (2019); and her interactive telephones, wall frescoes, bronze sculptures, and watercolor drawings were all featured in her sweeping carte blanche exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 2017.
Henrot’s practice reflects the wide-ranging interests that inform her work. Fittingly, as Grosse Fatigue is a film about her impossible wish to know everything, her modes of expression are not bound to any fixed set of mediums. Over the last several months she has begun to work with acrylic, oil, and watercolor on canvas and other surfaces. Henrot makes her drawings with skillful speed, producing several versions of the same motif in a single day. The nature of paint, however, requires the artist to slow down, to walk away from and return to her canvas another day. Thus, in contrast to the drawings, the paintings represent a condensation of time and feelings. Made while experiencing a range of emotions, they are pictures of a more complete subjectivity. They contain traces of the many psychic states that define our humanity.
“Is Today Tomorrow?” is a series of small paintings Henrot made on a daily basis while practicing social distancing at home. Done spontaneously at the end of each day, the paintings have the quality of diary entries as they reflect the specific moments in which they were made. The only unifying thread between them is their square format, which recalls the look of an Instagram post. Like that social media platform’s interface, this series is an equally random collection of images that serves as a portrait of an individual.
"Inside Out" is another series started since social distancing. The imagery underscores a heightened awareness of our bodies' internal fragility and complexity and combines it with scenes of the mundane activities that fill our days, as seen in images of stretching figures like this one.
Henrot is expanding her ongoing "Systems of Attachment" series of bronze sculptures and drawings to include paintings as well. These works consider human attachment – from the infant's earliest bond with its mother to its developmental need to separate – and the myriad ways this dynamic tension between attachment and separation continues to play out in relationships throughout our lives. A number of the paintings in this series use the familiar art historical trope of the mother and child. The motif’s ubiquity has made it banal, precisely the reason Henrot incorporates it into her work – insidiousness can be found beneath the surface of its banality. In Henrot’s paintings we see a plump, rosy-cheeked baby with all the signs of well-being held in the deflated arms of a figure whose body, in contrast, shows wear. It is neither a serene representation of tenderness nor one of callousness; it is instead a picture of ambivalence.
Camille Henrot was born in 1978 in Paris and lives and works in New York. A survey exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne is scheduled for 2021. Additional one person exhibitions are scheduled at Kestnergesellchaft, Hannover (2021) and the Middelheim Museum in Antwerp (2022). Her work will also be included in the 2021 editions of the Liverpool Biennial and the Busan Biennale. In 2017 her "Carte Blanche" exhibition Days are Dogs opened at Palais de Tokyo in Paris. She presented The Pale Fox at Chisenhale Gallery, London in 2014, which later traveled to Bétonsalon, Paris; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; and Westfalen Kunstverein Münster. She has had additional one-person exhibitions at Art Sonje, Seoul; Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery; Kunsthalle Wien; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; La Fondazione Memmo, Rome; New Museum, New York; Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin; New Orleans Museum of Art; Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Paris; and Jeu de Paume, Paris. She participated in the 9th Berlin Biennale; Prospect 3, New Orleans; and the 2014 Taipei and Gwangju Biennials. Her awards include the Silver Lion at the 55th Venice Biennale, the 2014 Nam Jun Paik Award, and the 2015 Edvard Munch Award, which will be accompanied by a one-person exhibition at the Munch Museum in Oslo in 2021.
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