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With an immersive installation fueled by videos on four screens around the viewer and the idea of “reviving Pasolini”, Lili Reynaud Dewar won the prestigious 2021 Marcel Duchamp Prize on Monday, October 18 at the Center Pompidou-Paris.
Born in 1975 in La Rochelle, the French artist entered the artistic world with works where she dances naked in empty places or institutions. In his winning piece, Rome, November 1-2, 1975, Lili Reynaud Dewar explores, reconstructs and imagines in an original way the last days of the great Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini, but also the role of art in today’s society. Maintenance.
RFI : In what universe takes us your installation on the last days of Pasolini ?
Lili Reynaud Dewar : It is an installation of four films, with 24 actresses and actors, people I have chosen from relatives, friends, collaborators, my mother. They are people with whom I have worked or who are close to me, who tell something about my life. I asked these people to embody the figure of the poet and director Pier Paolo Pasolini, as well as that of his lover who accused himself of his murder, in 1975, when Pasolini was assassinated. All these people came to interpret these roles, one after the other, in the installation that we see at the Center Pompidou-Paris. It is all these shoots and montages that make it possible to create a sort of collectivity, of a community of individuals who today embody this figure who disappeared in 1975.
The challenge to evoke these last days of Pasolini, was it to find a truth of the last moment ?
Not really. It is true, there are many theses on the assassination of Pasolini. It was important to show the different possible scenarios of why he died. But the question was rather to create a group, a community, and to revive this figure. A figure who is very important in contemporary thought, both for his thinking on ecology, his rather radical thinking on politics, on his way of questioning sexuality. It is about incarnating it today and putting it back in the present time, not as a frozen historical figure, but as a living figure.
Pasolini always put questions of society at the heart of his art and his works. What is for you today the most important social question to put in your work? ?
My point of view is that the questions are very related. For example, ecological struggles are linked with social struggles, struggles for housing are linked with struggles over immigration. All of these things cannot be understood without each other. For this, in my work, there is not one struggle or one element of social issues that concerns me or that is most important. I think what is important is to make visible the phenomena of authority, of oppression, the way in which certain things are encouraged. For example, the protection of private property, one would say, is the sacrosanct of the elements that we must protect socially and collectively. For me, on the contrary, it is something to fight against.
What is the link between your work and the work of Marcel Duchamp ?
There are not any.
► The work Rome, November 1 and 2, 1975 by Lili Reynaud Dewar is on display (along with those of the other three finalists for the 2021 Marcel Duchamp Prize: Julian Charrière, Isabelle Cornaro and Julien Creuzet) until January 3, 2022 at the Center Pompidou-Paris.