Current Issues | Salon 94

Current Issues

Sylvie Fleury

This is an excerpt from Current Issues Septembre-Octobre 1997, which played on the video wall from April 1 - April 10, 2020.

Fleury has turned to video over the course of her career, utilizing the medium for its ability to narrativize and document ephemeral gestures in relation to commerce, fashion, gender, and conceptual art.

The video Current Issues Septembre-Octobre 1997 is at once a cultural document of fashion of the era and performance providing insight into her practice of transforming text into a readymade. The video regularly alternates between scenes in which a woman leafs through the pages of the 1997 September and October issues of various women’s fashion magazines and shots of exteriors. The latter sequences are structured similarly. An American car enters an architectural environment with unmistakable connotations and a distinct look. A man—and occasionally a woman—gets out of the car, opens the trunk and takes out a banner, which he or she brandishes while facing the camera. On the white banner we see various phrases written in large black letters. All of the phrases have been taken as is from fashion magazines. Viewed out of context, the phrases seem more like political slogans than advice on beauty or love.

The slogans include “Now moisturize your lips,” “Spread the word not the lipstick,” “Turn flops into flips,” “Having a bad hairday,” “Miniskirts are back,” “Won't come off,” “Be amazing,” “The more you wear it, the better you look,” “Dare to be Diorific,” “Subscribe now,” “Uncover your skin,” “Classics are back,” “More shine, more volume,” “Use it tonight, see progress tomorrow,” “A revolution in artificial nails” and “Goes beyond moisture.”

These injunctions culled from the fashion press develop a different force. Playing on another semantic register, they take on a committed social tone.

While the words remain the same, their contextual shift of the transfer from one container to another (from glossy paper to poster), modifies their reception and interpretation—if only for the time it takes the artist to give her viewers a knowing wink. By inscribing them in an urban setting, Fleury amplifies these advertising slogans; they acquire a political connotation thanks to a formal association. (1)

(1) Aeby Papaloïzos, Isabelle. “Current Issues Septembre-Octobre 1997 1997.” Sylvie Fleury / Current Issues Septembre-Octobre 1997. NewMedia-Art. Accessed April 30, 2020.

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