[CONTENT WARNING: Viewers are advised that the following lecture contains documentation of nudity.]
Monday 8 October 2018, 6-7.30pm
Village Roadshow Theatrette
State Library of Victoria
179 La Trobe Street, Melbourne
Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA), in partnership with Melbourne International Arts Festival, was pleased to present a special lecture by visiting French artist Lili Reynaud-Dewar that coincided with the Australian première of the exhibition TEETH, GUMS, MACHINES, FUTURES, SOCIETY at MUMA (6 October-15 December 2018).
Reynaud-Dewar’s lecture focused on themes of argument, conflict and antagonism. Beginning with a consideration of the practices of Andrea Fraser, Adrian Piper and Ramaya Tegegne - three female artists whose work often develops antagonistic relations to the institution it is presented in and to certain social conditions - Reynaud-Dewar considered the way dance is used as a powerful instrument for criticism alongside a discussion of several of her recent works, including Small Tragic Opera of Images and Bodies in the Museum; Teeth Gums Machines Future Society; and Small Modest Bad Blood Opera.
Following the lecture, a conversation with the artist was convened by writer and academic Sophie Knezic.
TEETH, GUMS, MACHINES, FUTURE, SOCIETY comprised a film and expanded installation of sculptural objects and text-based works. The project revolved around two interconnected cultural icons which Reynaud-Dewar boldly tied together: grills or teeth jewellery—a status symbol in rap and hip hop scenes—and Donna Haraway’s futurist essay A Cyborg Manifesto (1985). As a white, European, female artist, Reynaud-Dewar speculated on the potential of the grill to function as a ‘cybernetic’ prosthesis, representing a future emancipated beyond the binaries of the hetero-normative patriarchy such as gender, race and sexuality. Along the way, her work created a space for the discussion of the complexities of cultural appropriation and transmission alongside a homage to the city of Memphis and its place in America’s labour and civil rights history and more recently as home to a strong culture of stand-up comedy and rap music.
Lili Reynaud-Dewar dances, writes, talks, teaches, makes movies, video installations, furniture, sculptures, feminist magazines, performances, alone or with her friends, students, family. In 2009 she co-founded, with Dorothée Dupuis and Valérie Chartrain, the art and entertainment feminist publication Petunia. She has been a professor at Haute École d'Art et de Design in Geneva since 2010. She is part of the group Wages For Wages Against, a campaign launched by Ramaya Tegegne, that promotes fees for artists as well as a less discriminating art world, in Switzerland and elsewhere. She lives and works in Grenoble, where she has initiated the project Maladie d'Amour in her studio in 2015. Maladie d'Amour is a social and emotional experiment that brings a small group of young people around one-night long exhibitions featuring Lili Reynaud-Dewar's artist friends from Paris, Geneva, Vienna and elsewhere.