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Laure Prouvost, They Parlaient Idéale, 2019, HD video, 28′30″, color, sound. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022. Courtesy of the artist, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels, carlier | gebauer, Berlin/Madrid and Lisson Gallery London, New York/Shanghai.


In conjunction with the festival düsseldorf photo+, JSC Düsseldorf will present from 14 –29 May 2022 a screening program with works by French artist Laure Prouvost (*1978 in Croix, France; lives and works in



Laure Prouvost’s They Parlaient Idéale is a video created as part of a larger installation for her presentation at the 58th Venice Biennale. It centers on a pilgrimage of a diverse and intergenerational group of individuals to the site of the French Pavilion. Prouvost uses the group members’ real histories and identities to inform the journey’s surreal fiction, in which the actors recite polysemantic phrases, dance, sing, and perform magic tricks for the camera. Quick cuts and swaps turn banal objects, words, and traveling rituals into an unbridled liquid fantasy. Everything that passes through the lens becomes increasingly fluid—sea creatures drifting through water, rocks, fruits and vegetables, and hands touching disembodied eyes.

The title is a playful allusion to Le Palais Idéal, or the ideal palace, a project constructed over the course of thirty years by Ferdinand Cheval, a lifelong postman from Southeast France. Cheval’s dream palace is filled with poetry and is emblematic of naïve art and architecture. The video’s disjointed story of migration is destined for a different sort of “ideal palace”—the Venice Biennale. Prouvost gestures toward the ritualistic behaviors associated with the event, which owes its inception to a period of heightened idealism during the rise of the nation-state in the late nineteenth century. Her critique of the institution is whimsical, and seems to evoke the beginnings of a new mythology.

Rachel Vera Steinberg