Sylvie Fleury Thesis Samples
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Sylvie Fleury is an important figure in the art world during the 1990s. She makes art pieces where the audience can draw themes from both the twentieth-century art and the consumer society. Her art works reflect her critique of the consumer society, which she deems as materialistic, and of feminism in which women base their worth on material things (“Sylvie Fleury Brings Luxury and Glamour”).
The artist Sylvie Fleury is known as a sculptor and a video and installation artist. Her art is a mixture of Pop art -- suitable signs and products of commerce -- which deal with issues of class, desire, and feminism (Wye and Weitman 272). Fleury’s works conjure incongruity by forming conventional masculine subjects- fake fur, lipstick colors, and fake boas. During the 1990’s, installations often included a personal passion for fashion and consisted of shopping bags from luxury brands that are placed randomly; of shopping environments that are remade; and of fashion magazine covers that are expanded and modified.
Consumer society is one of the themes that emerged in the art of Fleury. According to Doy, shopping is one of the things that is evident in Fleury’s work. She is considered “uncritical, glorifying in a post-feminist designer paradise, which she creates in gallery and other spaces” (Doy 161). Thus, it was stated that Fleury has a knack for using fashion apparels, clothes, and bags in showing her uniqueness from the other artists who use installations. It seems as if she does not care about how much her materials cost.
Moreover, Grosenick explained that Fleury also emphasized image and reality in her artworks (131). Sylvie Fleury created artwork that shows the constructed nature of images and the potential changes in them. This deconstruction of the perceived cultural identities and roles, which are defined socially, is called the technological extension or relocation of the bodily functions (Grosenick 131).
Feminism is a part of Fleury’s works. She alters the standards of western culture by re-encoding that culture with different feminine angles (Grosenick 132). For example, one of her works -- which is made of slim fast cartons -- alludes to Andy Warhol’s famous Brillo Boxes in 1964 while the diet products concurrently trigger the association of females’ idea about slenderness and other self-starvation rituals (Grosenick 132). Most of the time, Fleury uses products, fabric designs, and fashionable colors of a given season in her art. Examples are her mural paintings or her missiles in lipstick colors. She also uses soft materials that appeal to the sense of touch (Grosenick 132). Her dissident irony is brought to support one individual form of art, as well as the official forms of artistic presentation like the white cube- the white and ostensibly neutral and rational modernist presentation space that Fleury arranged with synthetic fur. This was specifically done in her work Cuddly Wall; hence, transforming it into a sensuous and slightly restricting white cave in which chrome-plated bronze sculptures were on display (Grosenick 132).
It would be plausible to refute the materials that Sylvie Fleury uses because of the fact that she does not pay any critical attention to the products she likes. These are not reflective of the dictates of fashion and of the images of women that are proliferated in public places (Grosenick 132). The themes in Fleury’s artwork show that she was recalling utopian hopes and wishes for the gratification of the fulfillment in life even though in distorted a form (Grosenick 132). According to another theorist Peter Webel, while there are numerous works of art that show male pleasures, there are only a few that show the indulgences of women as in the art of Fleury (Grosenick 132). According to Grosenick, some will contest that Fleury never repudiates that luxury holds appeal for her and that her works are not bedazzled by the destructive aspects of the illusions (132). Another example provided on this is her mural paintings -- such as Suffer in Silence- Women and Self-Mutilation -- in which she used quotations from a glossy magazine.
On the feminist side, from Grosenick’s explanations about Fleury’s work, it is said that Fleury is not afraid to let others know that women in society have to contend with what society has established for their identity and social roles. Fleury’s works are all reflective of how women want to break free from the bonds of being a woman. She also has artworks that are distorted in form to show how women struggle to make their lives different from what they are living now. The use of direct quotations from magazines is also utilized to show that women will do anything to be the woman they want to emulate even when they know this would require them to undergo many changes.
Furthermore, as expounded by Grosenick, Fleury’s use of different materials is an indication of being a consumer herself. This shows how she buys materials in order to let people understand the themes that she would like to depict and express. She wants people to know -- especially when she uses signature and priced materials -- how trivial and acquisitive people are.
In an article in ArtDaily.com, it is said that the primary argument of Sylvie Fleury’s work involves the dominant angst in modern society, which comes from popular culture and which emphasizes people as materialistic, as well as the body which has a series of inconsequential values (“Sylvie Fleury Brings Luxury and Glamour”). It shows as well the critical attack on the concealed caustic, critical and ironic attack on fashion, luxury and beauty.
According to Fernando Frances, “Sylvie’s work is a reflection of Pop culture and modern society’s determined connivance in compulsive, neurotic, process of consumption” (qtd. in “Sylvie Fleury Brings Luxury and Glamour”). Moreover, Frances cited that behind the sophistication and elegance of the materials used by Fleury, it was so difficult to identify whether she worships them or merely uses them for satirical purposes, specifically directed towards a society that adores these material things. Fleury has created artworks that went beyond their prices and brands. She used them to convey a disconcerting message to everyone.
Another example of Fleury’s work, which relates to the behavior of consumers, is her Ela 75k. According to Art Phantom, this work comprises of a golden trolley that is placed on a mirrored pedestal. By putting the actual item on shelves, she made her audience feel that there are times when they would want to buy everything but that they may not always be able to afford them. According to Art Phantom, the vacancy of the trolley signifies the dissatisfaction of the buyers once they realize that they can’t buy everything. The golden color of the trolley also symbolizes something about the consumers. The artist “sugar coated” the trolley in that she covered up an ordinary trolley to make it more attractive to the consumers. This shows how consumers buy luxurious items, often leaving them empty-handed. The golden trolley probably symbolizes the container or bag used by buyers as a beautiful and expensive vessel of cheap and underrated things. To cover up the kind of products they buy, they will just use this kind of bag so that other people won’t see how inferior their possessions are compared to those of others. On the other hand, Art Phantom asserted that the artwork could also mean that consumers keep on buying things, which they would soon not need anymore. This leaves them feeling empty as they are not able to maximize the use of their purchases. Another symbol for the golden trolley is that it is worshipped by other people due to the fact that it is made of gold. Other consumers also base their purchasing decisions on the product’s price in that they equate a high price to high quality.
This type of buying holds true for women. The initial reaction of women when they shop for their things is to buy everything of one kind of brand. Afterwards, they will feel bad about not buying from the other brands. They feel incomplete that they cannot experience the other kinds of brands. This is another case of worshipping. Girls worship certain things to the extent that they will spend more just so they can have them. Idolization is a western culture, which Fleury criticizes. In an effort for women to be beautiful, they are degrading their consumer value by being unwise consumers, all the while thinking that they are making themselves beautiful and better. In this way, Fleury’s feminist side comes out. She wants to challenge the consumer behavior of both men and women; however, she underscored how poor behavior on buying affects how women perceive themselves. Fleury wanted to remind women that being confident about oneself does not need to be based on the things that they buy and possess.
Felicity Lunn from Frieze.com said that Fleury’s work is focused on excess or exaggeration, which is seen in things such as the big fingernails, lipsticks, and razor nails that are scattered on crashed cars that are sprayed with nail varnish. Lunn also said that this shows the superficiality of the fashion, design, and advertising of the materials she uses. Though Sylvie Fleury is a fan of Marx and Engels, she did not fail to remind that females or women are the ones who usually have this kind of attitude toward buying.
The struggle of women to change themselves also results from the defect of consumerism. Buying or shopping is used as a way for women to be altered from the socially constructed identity roles ascribed to them by society. Having all of the intentions of changing, women may end up buying things without feeling satisfied or buying things they like but would be very hasty in shopping. Sylvie Fleury’s artworks are a combination of feminism and consumerism in society. Her artworks should urge her audience to be aware of the disillusionment that is brought about by buying things in order to achieve change.
Sylvie Fleury Brings Luxury and Glamour to the Contemporary Art Center of
Málaga.” artdaily.com. Jose Villareal, 2013. Web. 20 April 2015 <
Contemporary Art Daily. Sylvie Fleury at Almine Rech. 2010. Web. 20 April 2015.
Doy, Gen. Picturing the Self: Changing Views in the Subject. New York: Tauris & Co Ltd.,
Grosenick, Uta. Women Artists in the 20th to 21st Century. Germany: Taschen, 2001. Print.
Lunn, Felicity. Sylvie Fleury. Web. 20 April 2015.
Wye, Deborah and Wendy Weitman. Eye on Europe: Prints, Books and Multiples 1960 and
Now. New York : Museum of Magic Art, 2006. Print.
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