French, b. Lille, 1978
Single-channel video; color; sound; 12:06 min.
Joseph H. Hirshhorn Purchase Fund, 2018 (2018.019)
Swallow blends imagery of fruit, nude figures, and the Italian countryside into a lush collage interrupted by periodic flashes of an open mouth and the sound of inhaled breath. Laure Prouvost created the video during a residency in Italy in response to the Grand Tour, a historical rite of passage that exposed wealthy young men to Europe’s classical art and architecture. Focusing on idyllic images of nude bathers in a stream, Prouvost considers how we produce romantic ideals of place that diverge from reality. Her visual collage and soundscape pull the viewer into a world of intense sensation: a rush of images of flopping fish, crushed berries, and exposed flesh that hovers between earnestness and absurd humor.