A year represents the Earth’s journey around the sun, a month is the cycle of the moon, and a day is the result of Earth’s rotational cycle. In contrast, the week is a measure of time created without any connection to astronomy. It is an artificial system made only for the sake of the human life cycle. For each day of the week, the artist Camille Henrot examines the forms of human behavior that have been standardized and repeated within society, using the areas of cultural anthropology, religion, social media, and psychoanalytic theory as her references. This exhibition focuses on artworks associated with “Saturday” and “Tuesday,” which are presented alongside the artist’s series of watercolor drawings.
Filmed in New York, Washington, DC, Tahiti, and Tonga, her video Saturday (2017) focuses on the Seventh Day Adventist Church. She was drawn to the Church because its followers observe the Sabbath and conduct baptisms on Saturdays, and because its teachings emphasize the importance of good health and eating habits. For this work, the artist filmed Seventh Day Adventists’ services and recordings of their television prayer program. She combined this footage with scenes of neurological testing, a food commercial, a Botox injection, high-wave surfing, an endoscopy, and political demonstrations. This amalgam of imagery highlights connections between different human strategies to maintain hope in medical, religious and political dimensions.
The word “Tuesday” has its origins in Tyr, the Norse god of war and victory. Tuesday (2017) is a body of work combining video and sculpture that refers to both ancient mythology and the phenomenon of contemporary motivational messaging, as seen through the hashtag “#transformationtuesday”, for example. The film interweaves images of racehorses running, breathing, and having their hair groomed with others showing jiu jitsu practitioners in slow motion as they train on mats before a match. Tuesday subverts competition and replaces it with passive contemplation and an exaggerated suspension of movement and action. Installed along with the video are two sculptures that represent the body in an entangled form. They blur the lines between the acts of surrender and control.
The exhibition Saturday, Tuesday examines the forms of behavior and emotion that make up our existence, twisting the dualistic power structure and relationship to authority as we perceive it as individuals or communities. Henrot builds a space of possibilities protected from the binary dynamic and the irreversibility operating in our daily life, where the question of who wins or who loses becomes irrelevant.
About the Artist
Camille Henrot (b. 1978, France) lives and works in New York City. Her multidisciplinary practice moves seamlessly between film, drawing, sculpture and installation. The artist 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. A 2013 fellowship at the Smithsonian resulted in the film Grosse Fatigue, for which she was awarded the Silver Lion at the 55th Venice Biennale, the 2014 Nam June Paik Award and the 2015 Edvard Munch Award. In 2017, Henrot was given carte blanche at Palais de Tokyo in Paris, where she presented the major exhibition Days Are Dogs. Henrot has participated in the Lyon, Berlin and Sydney Biennials and exhibited at Schinkel Pavillon, Kunsthalle Wien, New Museum and Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery.
Curated by Heehyun Cho (Curator, Art Sonje Center)
Organized by Art Sonje Center
Supported by INSTITUT FRANCAIS of Paris