Camille Henrot

13 Aug – 06 Sep 2013

The Strife of Love in a Dream

Best known for her videos and animated films combining drawn art, music and occasionally scratched or reworked cinematic images, Camille Henrot’s work blurs the traditionally hierarchical categories of art history. Her recent work, adapted into the diverse media of sculpture, drawing, photography and, as always, film, considers the fascination with the ‘other’ and ‘elsewhere’ in terms of both geography and sexuality. The artist's impure, hybrid objects cast doubt upon the linear and partitioned transcription of Western history and highlight its borrowings and grey areas. 

On view in this exhibition, Henrot’s first in India, is the film, The Strife of Love in a Dream (2011), commissioned by the Centre Pompidou for its show, ‘Paris-Delhi-Bombay’. The film is inspired both by Carl Jung’s idea of India as a "dreamlike world" and by Sudhir Kakar’s analysis of India as “the unconscious of the West”. Made in India and France, it is composed in a braided structure, interweaving a pilgrimage, the production of anti-anxiety medication and the extraction of snake venom, all of which are linked to human strategies of defense against fear. 

Presented alongside, Tropics of Love (2011) is a series of ink drawings on paper of various figures, hybrids of male and female, human, vegetal and animal, with prominent genitals. The series occasionally incorporates inkjet images of exotic landscapes, and the polymorphous figures, drawn with quick, light brushstrokes, sometimes overlap with one another or are cut into pieces and collaged together to the point of near-abstraction. The word ‘tropics’ is meant to evoke thoughts of extreme limits, the limits of imagination, and it is connected to the question of exoticism and the fantasy of heaven on earth.

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