Laure Prouvost: They Are Waiting for You

Review by Stevie Ada Klaark

Walker Art Center
Oct 12, 2017–Feb 11, 2018

“They Are Waiting for You” is a multimedia installation that blurs the line between what is experience and what is experiential. The relationship between the premeditated and the happenstance is suggested throughout the work, beginning with flashes of subliminal texts, mantras and instructions that begin upon arrival at the museum lobby desk. Once in the gallery, a reversed mirror image painting states, UOY ROF GNITIAW ERA YEHT.

An unlearning is suggested through these turns of expectation. Beaconed toward a time where humans did not have assignments to words, there are giggles, squeals, chants, and groans heard throughout the gallery. While walking through a dark hall, our senses are deprived only briefly. Deposited into a waiting room that has an eye chart and poster declaring a binary divide between masculine and feminine, I am again disoriented. The suggestion of this binary amongst so much that resides in a middle space seems too didactic for an exhibition that is hinged on the spaces inbetween.

The uneasiness that I feel in this space of the gallery is provoked by the knowledge that so many conversations about gender lead with the masculine and feminine binary as a platform and thus the conversation becomes a framework for setting up the “other.” This normative structure for interrogating gender constructs creates a space that is antithetical to inclusion. It makes me think of something Eileen Myles once said, “The first fiction is your name. I think that is why I use it in my books all the time. Eileen Myles. Am I Eileen Myles? I mean that happens to be what my parents called me… but I prefer to use my own name because in a way there is nothing falser than Eileen Myles. You know? And like everybody else, I really don’t know who I am.” 1

As I think this I hear Prouvost’s voice from the next room.

“Your legs are under water. The screen is under water too.”

Haptic images filmed vis-à-vis Youtube tutorial aesthetic, an Internet junk space sense of time merged with personal recordings of the artist and her young child form a space where everything vacillates. Suddenly, Prouvost sends a message, an urge to go back out into the world from the comfort of the cinematic womb. The recorded images have limits, the gallery has walls, the floor must lead you eventually back outside to the snow covered tall grass.


1 Myles, Eileen. Inferno (a Poet’s Novel) Trailer. Youtube, OR Books, 28 July 2010.