Laure Prouvost’s artistic practice is a way of life. Ahead of the French artist’s first major Australian exhibition, ACCA co-curator Annika Kristensen saw Prouvost in her element while on a day trip to the Mornington Peninsula to gather materials for an installation.

“She’s a remarkably creative person – and I’m aware that ‘creative’ is a fairly glib word to use in relation to an artist – but she truly lives her art. She sees inspiration everywhere” Kristensen says. “The process of selecting and arranging the branches for the campfire at the centre of the work Gathering Ho Ma, The glaneuse was very organic. Laure found a branch in addition that she liked and decided to use it as a prop for an impromptu performance on the opening night, for which she walked around, shaking it over people’s heads as a form of blessing. Spending time with Laure, both in and outside the gallery, gave me a very holistic understanding of a relationship between art and life that is deeply intertwined for her.”

Though Oui Move In You is the first time her work has been exhibited on such a scale in Australia before, Prouvost is a leading figure in contemporary art. She creates worlds rooted in film and expanded in often otherworldly installations. Prouvost’s unique style and recurring themes are perhaps best highlighted by her 2013 Turner Prize-winning Wantee. The mixed-media video installation – and opening piece of the ACCA survey – represents what Kristensen describes as “a singular originality to her work.”

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Wantee … tells the story of her grandfather’s last great artwork – he was a conceptual artist – which was digging a hole from the floor of her grandparent’s house in the Lake District in Britain towards Africa, and he goes missing in the tunnel,” Kristensen says. “In the wake of her grandfather’s disappearance, Laure’s grandmother attempts to preserve his artistic legacy, but then begins to add to it, making it a bit more intuitive and libidinous and free…”

In disappearing, this fictional representation of her grandfather foreshadows the importance of Prouvost’s grandmother, who bookends the exhibition. “The exhibition concludes with a more recent work, Every Sunday, Grandma, which was made in 2023 and is like grandma’s ultimate act of liberation where she is jumping from a plane into the clouds.”

The dense worlds in Prouvost’s works can be surreal and wild, but underneath the idiosyncratic blend of cinema and physical installation the artist evokes both tangible and elemental themes. “The idea of ancestry, particularly through grandmothers, is a key concern,” says Kristensen. “It’s not necessarily just a biological ancestry, but also artistic forebears [and] references – the women who have shaped us personally, and paved the way for contemporary women artists like Laure. She’s also interested in language; in our relationship to the natural world; ideas of seduction and desire and entrapment; ideas of childbirth and the nonverbal spaces between mother and child.”

Prouvost is also known to reference tea and tea making in her art – as you’ll see in Wantee – and ACCA is leaning into the idea for Oui Move In You. Every Sunday between 2pm and 4pm from April 21 to May 19, exhibition partner Somage will offer a complimentary selection of organic teas, matcha, chai and drinking chocolate at a pop-up station in ACCA’s foyer. Visitors can also sip on Somage’s chamomile tea in the campfire installation, Gathering Ho Ma, The glaneuse anytime during the exhibition. “We want people to sit down and have a cup of tea and listen to the work and reflect,” says Kristensen. She says that while Prouvost’s works are often absurdist, it’s the universal themes of language, lineage, grandmothers, ancestors and relationships that shine through.

“We’d really love for people to come out of the exhibition also reflecting upon the people who have personally shaped them – the people who have paved the way for us to be in the position that we’re in today, and the people that we are now.”

Broadsheet is a proud media partner of ACCA. Oui Move In You is now open at ACCA until June 10. Entry is free.