The flowers, as symbols of female sexuality, combine with the travel agency’s many bared breasts to suggest a strong feminist current in the show. At its core, the story of Prouvost’s alternate-reality grandparents is about how her “grandmother,” a victim of art historical misogyny, never got her due. In contrast, the art world celebrated her “grandfather,” whose male-gaze-laden paintings of a woman’s nude back and a breast appear behind curtains in the gallery. The travel agency gives Prouvost a platform to finally celebrate an underappreciated female artist (and problematize women’s objectification along the way). The fake relative becomes a stand-in for all female artists who’ve suffered the same fate and deserve more contemporary acclaim. “Now I give her a lot of space to grow,” says Prouvost of her unsung “grandmother.”
The near-pornographic text and audio in the films operate in service to perhaps Prouvost’s greatest interest: language itself. In text paintings scattered around the gallery, she offers such messages as “IDEALLY HERE BE SOME STAIRS TO GET HIGHER” and “IDEALLY HERE A NAKED KING WOULD WELLCOME YOU WONDERFULY” [sic]. She infuses words and phrases with myriad potential meanings, amassing them into a larger history of her work, her family, and art itself. Deliberate misspellings, strangely structured clauses, and homonyms, beginning with the name of the agency itself—“ink” instead of “inc.”—further highlight the theme.
Prouvost slyly manipulates her audience’s perspective with words: written on screens, travel brochures, artworks, and underneath tables. The quest for discovery and understanding leads to an uncommonly long, leisurely gallery visit. “ITS GETTING HOT AND HEAVY,” reads a portion of text from Into All That Is Here. “YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN YOURSELF INSIDE ME / TRAPPED INSIDE / SWALLOWED IN PLEASURE.” In all her work, Prouvost offers a similar seduction. After you immerse yourself in her enchanted, sensual realm, you may find it difficult to leave.