In her first show with the gallery—and first major solo New York exhibition in over a decade—the Swiss artist Sylvie Fleury has transformed the basement level of Salon 94 Bowery into a dizzying gilded cage and filled it with her signature appropriations of beauty, fashion, and consumer culture. Within the gold-striped walls — which reference Daniel Buren installations and Mayan gold — she has installed three of her glittery crash test paintings (literally smashed into abstraction with cars driven by Fleury herself), a neon egg sculpture, and a mirror in the shape of a razor-blade, leaning against one wall. The latter is an homage to John McCracken’s plank sculptures, and also functioned as a fountain of vanity for the gentleman who paraded around the opening in day-glo heels, stomping, dancing, and prancing on a floor sculpture in a reactivation of Fleury's 1997 video installation "Walking on Carl Andre." (One participant was working the steel tiled square so hard he actually split his pants.) A film of the original piece, meanwhile, was projected onto the gallery's street-side wall.
Sylvie Fleury: Audience Participation March 4, 2013 from Salon 94 on Vimeo.
"I hope you did not feel forced to walk across the floor piece," said Fleury, who fell ill before the opening, but mustered the strength to write in from Geneva. "I rather urge the audience to have fun whatever way they like it."
Sophisticated Boom Boom!, 2012
Fun, or mischief as it were, seems to be her stock in trade. The original video was made with help from Geneva-based collectors who invited women into their homes to walk on their Andre floor pieces in Mondrian-patterned heels after the minimalist master objected to an earlier work Fleury made by scattering the same heels atop one of his copper rug sculptures. The concept felt very apt amidst the Armory Week deluge, as do Fleury’s more recent "Go Bust" dot paintings based on photos of herself wearing sweaters featuring Victor Vaserly's bulbous Op-Art stylings. They keenly emasculate Damien Hirst's iconic trope into forms meant to resemble breasts. Taken as a whole, Fleury explains, the exhibition is "about freedom." Or, as some might see it, girl power.
"It Might As Well Rain Until September" at Salon 94 Bowery open through April 28, salon94.com.Photo: courtesy of the artist and Salon 94