«Curing» is the first France solo show of British artist Paloma Proudfoot. The works included were produced during the artist’s recent stay at Moly Sabata – Albert Gleizes Foundation, the oldest artist residency in France.
Paloma Proudfoot navigates freely within the field of beauty, emancipated from marketing pressures to better assert her own ideals. So she gets her hands dirty, prepared to reinvent everything. The demiurgic aspect of working with clay permits this. It is not a matter of applying an exfoliating mask, avoiding the contours of the eyes, in the clinical atmosphere of an institute, but of shaping a corpulence from mud, from slush, from silt. From shit. And the preservative properties of mire are self-evident, to the point that one finds in such ground, bodies intact despite life having left them millennia ago. A natural embalmment retaliates. This double character of finitude and conservation, of vice and virtue, long permeates the imagination of the artist who crushes the flesh of the earth. Faced with the injunction to maintain one’s body stable throughout the decades, she invites us to embrace the organic evolution, the happy decay. Demise is considered here as an experience among others. The existential cosmetic is overcome. The artist braids arteries and branches in the blackness of her earthenware, a pipeworks from which the vitality of fluids reenammains to be scoured. The firing and the glazing, by paralyzing its muscles, act like a poison. Originally, the curare is extracted from certain Amazonian lianae in order to poison arrows for hunting. While its etymology might give one to believe it derives from a Latin, curative root, it is entirely the opposite that is confirmed by the native word «ourari» meaning «death that kills in a low voice».