When she was 19, years before art school entered the picture, Denize studied film and theater. After that, she worked as a waiter in Saint Germain des Pres for five years. In the midst of daily encounters with Parisian personalities, she gained her first real experience with contemporary art by falling in love with an artist.
One day, a friend who was starting art school encouraged Denize to join, knowing that she liked to draw. She agreed and enrolled in the painting program at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts, graduating in 2013. “It was really hard,” Denize recalled. “I was trying to do classic figuration and it was a fail,” she laughed. “But outside of school, I had this hobby of going to the flea market and finding some fragment or object and making assemblages, but just at home.”
Eventually, she sent a picture of these assemblages to a teacher who’d said her paintings were horrible. “He said, ‘Okay, this is amazing. This is your work,’” Denize recalled.
The title “Reverse for a Better Move” refers to the critical shift Denize made, from her early days of figurative painting to her current assemblage and costume practice. “They are kind of all the figures that I failed to represent [in painting],” Denize said of her current work, “but they’re more than that, because they are grotesque and like costume or a second skin.”