The Art of Swiss Humor
Condition: Light rust and corrosion traces.
Sylvie Fleury, born in Geneva in 1961, is an artist who produces objects, installations and performances. Since the 1990s she has attracted attention with her objects and installations based on luxury goods such as cosmetics and fashion. These works, like “C’est la Vie!” from 1990, with a pile of shopping bags from luxury bands such as Chanel, allude to today’s consumerism and the great power and aura of these omnipresent brands. Many see in this a critique or at least an analogy with modern consumerism within art. Even here, many new collectors “consume” art as a luxury item, and, as soon as the vernissage is over, art galleries are already preparing themselves for a new exhibition. Art, like the latest fashion trend, is quickly consumed and rapidly changed. Yet Fleury does not carry out a direct critique of this process, but rather presents it as a fact and a reality within the given space. It is left to the viewer to reflect critically upon this matter.
Fleury also introduces something very feminine through her work, in what is a male dominated art scene. Many of her pieces comprise typically male objects such as cars, motors or rockets, which Fleury clothes in a very feminine material or colour. Thus we find fur-clad or highly polished spaceships in the colours of the latest cosmetics collection, or golden high gloss motors and tyres.
The present piece - a spaceship, made of steel and zinc-plated steel sheeting, with its shimmering polished surface, is a wonderful example of Fleury’s play with traditionally masculine objects. Moreover, it provides an opportunity for reflection around cosmic delimitations, the universe and the tensions between art and spheres of belief - another important theme of her work.
Image rights: Courtesy of Koller Auktionen
Sylvie Fleury creates seductive objects and multimedia installations that, although they might be mistaken as endorsement, present a subtle commentary on the superficiality of consumer society and its values. Referencing Marcel Duchamp’s readymades and Andy Warhol’s obsession with shopping, Fleury draws on elements from luxury clothing, Formula1 racing, contemporary art, magazine covers, and designer objects. The phrase “Yes to All” is a recurring theme in much of Fleury's objects (including gold plated waste baskets and Swarovski crystal embellished signs), borrowed the profane computer command critiquing the increasingly uncontrollable consumer desire before the 2007 global economic collapse.
Swiss, b. 1961, Geneva, Switzerland, based in Geneva, Switzerland