Lili Reynaud-DewarLili Reynaud-Dewar

Live Through That ?!!

2 to 21 April 2014

Lili Reynaud-Dewar was born in La Rochelle, France, 1975
She studied at Glasgow School of Art
Lili currently lives and works in Grenoble, France


A conversation between Matthew Ferguson and Lili Reynaud-Dewar, held on Monday 31 March 2014.

Matthew Ferguson: You were saying that you want to do these dance videos for the rest of your life, how did that come about? Was it a decision from the start?

Lili Reynaud-Dewar: It wasn’t, no no. No it came after I did them for, maybe after the third or fourth time, I thought ah that’s interesting in a sense you know. I’ve always tried to keep a track of what I’m doing, like for instance, I have this friend, Claire Guezengar, the really good friend that maybe I’m going to try to read a text from but I don’t know because they’re in French. I would like to translate it live, but maybe its very boring. She told me that once she made a list of all the bedrooms she’d slept in since she was a kid, so like her parents’ house, hotels, friends’ houses, but everywhere she had been sleeping, I thought that was amazing, not writing a diary just listing things. So this could work as something similar, and also be interesting in terms of what’s current fair with art spaces. I mean from my own point of view, they also exist as autonomous, in a sense, because they all have, you know their programme, and as an artist you just come and you use the space for a certain amount of time, and you leave and another artist is coming. So both I could give an account of what’s going on, in a certain epoch, but also of course through your own subjectivity. I think it could be an interesting document.

MF: Yeah, it would be good to look at in 200 years time.

LRD: (Laughs), Maybe only 20 years time, because now we have so much sense of autohistory of like, you know, everybody is doing shows about the 90’s which seems also strange. There’s this big show which is going to open soon in France in Centre Pompidou Metz, I’ve never been, this extension of Pompidou like Tate Liverpool, bit like that. Extending the museum to a provincial city. And so they’re going to do this big show on the 1990’s, and they don’t seem so far away, to me. It’s only 20 years, it’s not like, maybe not history. It’s funny how there is an awareness, it changes really quickly.

MF: How do you see this work changing?

LRD: I will change, my body will change. Maybe I also get a bit tired, maybe the dance gets different, maybe I stop smoking. Which would be good I think.

MF: We will see. How would you describe the performance you’re planning for people reading this interview who may have missed it?

LRD: The performance is a simple reading of a collection of texts, which I happen to realise, but I didn’t really plan it. A lot of it is also about repetition, which is something I’m interested in, but, in the sense that, well, there’s this text by Marguerite Duras where she speaks about the fact that she’s somehow created a uniform for herself, by always wearing the same clothes for a long time, and the reasons why you will see when I read the text and different kind of habits she had. Like she had the habit of drinking also, so she speaks of her own alcoholism and that repetition and why she always wants to get back to it. So that’s like a kind of thread that’s going through all of the texts, but I think the beds, in a way they also are about repetition, you get to sleep in them regularly, if you can every night, and I think that’s why they interested me in the first place as something very common, very mundane.

MF: But these are quite exciting.

LRD: Oui, they’re fancy. They’re sleeping in style. But because they also become this small unit of, they’re like a reduction of a previous bed I made, which is again about repetition, and how you can repeat something in again making something different. The first bed I made, I made it in Vienna, and I was reading this writer Guillaume Dustan, who I like very much, but it’s also about repetition because he speaks about his sexual life, all his different partners, and it’s very utopian but at the same time very regular, very mundane, its about like the body, like how to behave well, and how to not have a sexuality that’s super perverted, I don’t know, it’s to me, it’s super interesting, but he also in his own writing created a form of, like stuttering, repetitions. I wanted to make, my intuition was to make a bed that was a monument for writers who use their own biography, life as a material to writing, in a very direct way. And I thought ah that’s funny because these writers probably would never want to have a monument because it’s against their will. The Eileen Myles text is so much about realism and it’s very direct and I make it something else, which is maybe more convoluted, or even metaphorical, which is probably something that she would not like, not that she would not like the work being made after her work, but she would not go for such a direction. I wanted to make somehow a monument in a private environment, or dealing with like the monument as this big public thing, commemorative, so it’s also about sculpture. Sculpture existed first, I imagine, as something that has to do with the public or like public space.

MF: But these are kind of private?

LRD: But they also relate to the exhibition space, which is public but in a way its also a bit private, because of the way ‘Art’ circulates, and is somehow common to certain art crowds and is very coded. So when you go to an art space you go to somehow a place that’s a bit private, or maybe it’s a faded idea now that contemporary art is so successful? But you know, its in-between, no? And here for instance, that’s also why I’m interested because spaces like OUTPOST it’s not like a museum, not an institution and it works according to certain motivation but also personal commitment of people, so it’s like a public activity that you do for a certain awareness, what is a group? What is a ‘Public’? What is an audience? And you do it for free, I mean you commit to it.

MF: Does the space affect what you make? What about this show in Vienna?

LRD: No actually it doesn’t, the work is the same, but again it’s a very different version. But I try for it not to affect the work but to affect the practice, or something like this. Different spaces in which I do shows are all quite different, I try for them not to be, not to make works specifically for such space. But then of course it affects my understanding of what you work with or like and also the collaboration you have with people and I think that’s quite important.

Oh and also, my work is meant to be funny.

Both: (Laughs)

Lili Reynaud-Dewar


Lili Reynaud-Dewar


Lili Reynaud-Dewar


Lili Reynaud-Dewar


Lili Reynaud-Dewar


Lili Reynaud-Dewar


Lili Reynaud-Dewar