[Photos: Andrew Phelps // © Salzburger Kunstverein // © ADAGP Camille Henrot]

Part of what’s interesting about representing women with a breast pump is, to me, the fact that in that moment they are usually without the child. It’s a way to focus on the mother, but also to distinguish their identity from the oppressive institution of motherhood. It’s a way to acknowledge a mother’s separate subjective self, the same way the subjective, sexual self can be expressed through masturbation. There is a connection between masturbation and subjectivity (explored by Michel Leiris). Perhaps the representation of a woman expressing milk, alone, can function as an image of the mother as a subjective self, and not immediately a determination of her role as caregiver, whether she is a bad or good mother, or a psychoanalytic object that could be judged. [Camille Henrot]

Henrot’s approach is certainly not easy to pin down. Sometimes described as syncretic, the work of Camille Henrot often knowingly draws from many references, recombining them to derive informed speculations that pulse with profound flashes of the unknowable, while also seemingly quivering with cryptic messages. What immediately comes to mind, when surveying her oeuvre, is the so-called sage advice of professors telling their artist-cum-students to be consistent in their own work, to find a formal pattern, so to speak, for the sake of consistency, to be taken seriously, and eventually to find symbolic or financial success. Camille Henrot has clearly long rejected this advice, where her work not only instrumentalizes elusive topics, cultural anthropology, and theological references, and the history of art and aesthetics into an astonishing fluency, it does this over multiple genres, mastering one by one. [...]

[Text: “Codes, Coddling and Creationism: A few notes on the work of Camille Henrot” by Séamus Kealy, Director, Salzburger Kunstverein]

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The works in Camille Henrots exhibition “Mother Tongue” are inspired by the human developmental need for attachment and separation, the mouth as a site of both expression and consumption, and related connections to the preverbal. This exhibition is the second iteration of a presentation first conceived at Kestner Gesellschaft in 2021, with scenography by Charlap Hyman & Herrero. Camille Henrot was awarded the Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2013 for her film Grosse Fatigue, as well as the Carte Blanche at Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 2017, resulting in her monumental exhibition “Days are Dogs.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication co-produced with the Kestner Gesellschaft which will be released in autumn 2022.

Camille Henrot (*1978, Paris, France) lives and works in New York, USA. Henrot is recognized as one of the most influential voices in contemporary art today. Over the past twenty years, she had developed a critically acclaimed practice, encompassing drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and film. Inspired by literature, second-hand marketplaces, poetry, cartoons, social media, self help and the banality of everyday life, Henrot’s work capture the complexity of living as both private individuals and global citizens in an increasingly connected and over-stimulated world.

In 2013, Henrot received widespread critical acclaim for her film “Grosse Fatigue,” made during a fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution and awarded the Silver Lion at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013. She elaborated ideas from Grosse Fatigue to conceive her acclaimed 2014 installation “The Pale Fox” at Chisenhale Gallery in London. The exhibit, which displayed the breadth of her diverse output, went on to travel to institutions including Kunsthal Charlottenburg, Copenhagen; Bétonsalon – Centre for art and research, Paris; Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, Germany; and Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Japan. In 2017, Henrot was given carte blanche at Palais de Tokyo in Paris, where she presented the major exhibition “Days Are Dogs.” She is the recipient of the 2014 Nam June Paik Award and the 2015 Edvard Munch Award, and has participated in the Lyon, Berlin, Sydney and Liverpool Biennials, among others.

Henrot has had numerous solo exhibitions worldwide, including the New Museum, New York; Schinkel Pavilion, Berlin; New Orleans Museum of Art; Fondazione Memmo, Rome; Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Japan, and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, among others. Current and upcoming solo exhibitions include “Wet Job” at Middelheim Museum in Antwerp, Belgium (2022), “Mother Tongue” at Salzburger Kunstverein (2022) and “Mouth to Mouth” at Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway (2022).

Kindly supported by the Institut français d’Autriche.

[Text: Salzburger Kunstverein]

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