Michael Janssen Berlin is pleased to announce its second exhibition by Belgian artist Lili Dujourie (b. 1941). Entitled Jeux de dames the exhibition showcases the central homonymous velvet sculpture from 1987, her complete early video works as well as the photographic series Oostende (Storm) from 1976.
Dujourie’s work includes video, collages, sculptures, installations and photography. She is a pioneering artist who created groundbreaking works in the 1970‘s with her feminist performance videos. In the 1980‘s Dujourie started to make sculptures with velvet, which she usually draped over a built armature of steel and wood. The result displays the richness and complexity of a whole culture by folding its past into its present: it takes a framing device from the history of painting and puts it on the stage of contemporary sculpture in a leading role.
In Jeux de dames (draughts or checkers but literally Ladies‘ plays, 1987) Dujourie stages an encounter between a flamboyant curlicue of blue velvet and an angular black screen of lacquered wood, standing on a marble draught board. The sculpture depicts a scenery that seems to have been abandoned by the female model. She is no longer posing and all that remains of her are her ornaments of velvety curves.
Éditions de tête, 1972-1981 comprises 14 of her black-and-white videos created between 1972 and 1981. In them Dujourie created extremely intimate and captivating soundless moving images in ‚soft‘, painterly ‚grisaille‘; they all feature the human figure - usually herself - as a sculptural presence. The open-reel tapes have been re-mastered for preservation purposes in the 1990‘s and since then shown and written about in various contexts, and are now regarded „...as crucial for understanding how artists realized the potential of the electronic moving image at an early stage.“ (in „The actions of bodies: approaching Lili Dujourie“, Anders Kreuger, Afterwall, Autumn/Winter 2013).
In her works Dujourie is continuously concerned with contemporary reinterpretations of themes, forms and gestures from art history, which is one reason why her many-faceted but dense and precisely articulated oeuvre is so visually and intellectually rewarding. In her articulation of minimalism and conceptual ideas, her works draw questions on the relation between matter and subject and how this relates to perception.
Her work has been presented at the P.S.1 in New York, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, at the Documenta 12, at the 2010 Sharjah Biennial and at the 2008 Gwandju Biennal. In 2005 a major exhibition (curated by Lynne Cooke) at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels was dedicated to her work. In 2011 Michael Janssen had a major survey with Dujourie in Berlin. In 2014 she will have a major survey at the Leopold-Hoesch-Museum in Düren, Germany.