On display now at NGV International, Camille Henrot, the French-born, Berlin-based contemporary artist, will be celebrated in an Australian-first survey of works that take a playful and inventive approach to addressing life’s big questions.
Camille Henrot is one of the most compelling contemporary artists working today. Born in Paris in 1978, the Berlin-based artist works across diverse media including sculpture, drawing, video and installation.
Henrot references self-help, online second-hand marketplaces, cultural anthropology, literature, psychoanalysis, and social media to question what it means to be at once a private individual and a global subject.
The exhibition features key works from the past decade including a group of new works on paper never before exhibited and the Australian premiere of the immersive room-scale installation The Pale Fox, 2014, a companion piece to Henrot’s award-winning film Grosse Fatigue, 2013, for which she won the Silver Lion at the 55th Venice Biennale.
Grosse Fatigue attempted to tell the story of the universe whereas The Pale Fox is a meditation on our shared desire to understand the world intimately through the objects that surround us.
Characterised by what Henrot has called a ‘cataloguing psychosis’, this vast installation features en masse more than 500 objects encompassing photographs, sculptures, books and drawings, including objects made by the artist as well as collected via eBay.
The exhibition will also feature new watercolour works on paper that have never been exhibited before which explore aspects of human psychology, and the artist’s Interphones series of telephone sculptures that playfully draw attention to our relationship to authority and technology.
In these interactive works, Henrot invites visitors to pick up a customised telephone and respond to prompts such as Would you ever have sex at work? Is Google right about you? Are you gluten-free? Press control for yes. Enter for no.
“From her early beginnings in film animation and music video, Camille Henrot has gone on to become one of the world’s most inventive and thoughtful contemporary artists,” said Tony Ellwood AM, Director, National Gallery of Victoria.
“A meticulous researcher, Camille often draws on diverse disciplines in her art to offer us mesmerising insights into the complicated times in which we live, and she deftly uses humour to highlight and make sense of the peculiarities of daily life.”
In 2017, Henrot participated in the Carte Blanche series at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, resulting in the major survey exhibition Days are Dogs. For this exhibition, Henrot created the 3D film Saturday, 2017 – a work that draws connections between Seventh-day Adventist practices and humanity’s contemporary preoccupation with dieting, transparency, protest and aging. The film has recently been added to the NGV Collection.
In the same year, Henrot participated in the inaugural NGV Triennial 2017 with the bronze sculpture Contrology, 2016, which was also acquired for the NGV Collection, and takes a humorous approach towards exploring feelings around Monday – the first day of the working week. Both works will feature in Camille Henrot: Is Today Tomorrow.
Henrot’s work has been the focus of solo exhibitions at Chisenhale Gallery, London; Fondazione Memmo, Rome; Schinkel Pavilion, Berlin; New Orleans Museum of Art; Musée du Jeu de Paume, Paris; and the New Museum, New York; and more recently at the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery in Tokyo, Japan.
The first major monograph on the artist will be published by the NGV on the occasion of the exhibition, edited by former NGV Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Dr Simon Maidment.
The monograph features extensive new scholarship on the artist by a range of international voices including Dan Fox, Dr Shanay Jhaveri, Clara Meister, and NGV Curators of Contemporary Art Jane Devery and Pip Wallis and is designed by internationally renowned British designer James Langdon.
Illustrated with key works from throughout the artist’s career, including a group of new works on paper, the more than 200 images featured in this publication illuminate the enormous diversity and potency of Henrot’s oeuvre.
Camille Henrot: Is Today Tomorrow
NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Exhibition continues to 24 October 2021
For more information, visit: www.ngv.vic.gov.au for details.
Image: Installation view of Camille Henrot: Is Today Tomorrow at NGV International, Melbourne – photo by Tom Ross / courtesy of NGV