Like a dancing dog – Natacha Lesueur
Exhibition by Natacha Lesueur from October 13, 2021 to January 9, 2022
Curator: Christian Bernard
The French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici is pleased to present this fall’s exhibition Like a dancing dog, which highlights the work of artist and former Villa Medici Fellow Natacha Lesueur (2002-2003) over a period of nearly 30 years.
Natacha Lesueur’s work is mainly photographic. Her artistic preoccupations revolve around the body, appearance, and the intimate relationship that the body envelope and its interiority maintain. Through series of images constructed like paintings, the body is subjected to different treatments that are at once constraint, staging and mask.
Curated by Christian Bernard, the exhibition unfolds in the form of a visual and thematic narrative that brings together more than 80 of the artist’s pieces, both historical and unpublished, offering an intimate look at his work around the image and its plastic and political issues.
The ironic dimension of the title, borrowed from Virginia Woolf’s book A Room of One’s Own*, fully expresses her awareness as a woman artist and sets the tone for an exhibition in which the incongruous and the extravagant are treated with the utmost seriousness.
From the first historical pieces (1993-1998), to the very recent series of fairy brides (Les humeurs des fées, 2020-21), including works dedicated to the Brazilian actress Carmen Miranda, a legendary figure of Hollywood cinema in the 1940s, representations of the feminine inhabit the exhibition, often disturbing, always ambiguous. Through interventions on distinctive identity markers, hair and clothing envelopes, vehicles and symbols of the masquerades of femininity, through the exploration of dedicated roles and normative models – bride, mother, princess, actress, dancer, etc.- by the subversion of the injunctions to beauty, youth or thinness, Natacha Lesueur seeks to reveal, not without humor, the manifestations of the expression of a social and cultural constraint. Stuffy hairstyles, accessorized hair, XXL makeup and food postiches are all recurring enigmas in the tableaux-recits exhibited the Villa Medici.
Like a dancing dog also goes beyond the boundaries of the photographic medium to explore other aspects of Natacha Lesueur’s artistic production: ceramic sculpture-fountains, earthenware vases, drawings and video works punctuate the exhibition, in dialogue with the photographic series, as a way of questioning the experience of the image and the fixity of forms.
Enigmatic figures of fairies and brides or familiar female portraits that expose themselves to the eye while evading it: the exhibition Like a dancing dog proposes a personal and cultural feminine genealogy of the artist, “a multiple work, unfolded in a journey punctuated by her singular uses of the strange and the ambiguous,” to quote the curator Christian Bernard.
*In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf quotes Nick Greene and Samuel Johnson, who say of a woman who acts, preaches, composes, in short, who carries out any intellectual activity, that she reminds them of a dog that dances: “the result is not convincing, but one is surprised that it exists.
Catalog of Natacha Lesueur’s exhibition, ” Like a dancing dog ”
Edited by Christian Bernard, Walden n (2021)
ISBN : 978-2-9575515-3-8
Texts by Christian Bernard and Sam Stourdzé
Trilingual edition (French / Italian / English)
176 pages (ill.)
With the support of the Eva Vautier Gallery and House Of Chappaz
On sale at Villa Medici and online
Natacha Lesueur (born in 1971 in Cannes) trained at Villa Arson in Nice before presenting her first solo exhibition in 1996. Winner of the Ricard prize in 2000 and resident at the French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici in 2002-2003, Natacha Lesueur has exhibited in many countries in Europe, the United States, Korea and China. A monographic book of her work was published by the MAMCO in Geneva in 2011. She lives and works in Paris.
Christian Bernard (born in 1950 in Strasbourg) is an exhibition curator. After teaching literature and philosophy in Alsace, he joined the Ministry of Culture as an artistic advisor at the Drac de Lyon (1982-1985). He then directed the Villa Arson in Nice (1986-1994) before designing and directing the Mamco, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Geneva (1991-2015). He was artistic director of the Printemps de Septembre in Toulouse in 2008, 2009, 2016, 2018 and 2021.
Photo: © I. Kalkkinnen
The French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici thanks its sponsors and partners:
Sponsors and partners
ACADÉMIE DES BEAUX-ARTS, FONDATION LOUIS ROEDERER
GROUPAMA, SOFITEL, AIR FRANCE, CULINARIES, CLUB CRIOLLO, VALRHONA, FABRIZIO FIORANI
With the support of VILLA ARSON for the production of the vases presented in the exhibition.
Monday to Sunday (closed on Tuesdays): 11am to 7pm (last entry at 6.30pm)