This was not just your average translation, however, as the friend does not speak a word of German and did not use a dictionary, hence exercising his poetic license to the full. Continuing this game of layering and miscommunication, Prouvost decided to put the sequences of her film into a series of immersive installations. She has presented these in various venues in the world from Toronto to London, and now also in Milan and Rotterdam. “My work is about translation and miscommunication”, she says, with a rather strong French accent. “I went into art because I felt I was inarticulate and unable to use words. I thought that this way I could fully express myself. But then I realised I use a lot of text in my work and I talk non-stop. I love playing with language and I use it as a tool for the imagination. Being a foreigner in London, I’m an outsider who doesn’t speak the ‘right’ English, which creates miscommunication.” With her personal story as a backdrop, it was no surprise that Prouvost was intrigued by Macbeth’s mistranslation of Kafka. “As his translation was already quite surrealistic, I decided to take it a step further by adding another mistranslation. I placed the main characters in everyday life, sometimes using lines from his book.”
In Witte de With, I am showing the Wet sequence, which was filmed in a pub in Dalston (London) where it was constantly raining, and the characters sitting inside are soaked. When Witte de With commissioned me to make an exhibition, I decided to use this sequence, as I had never put it into an installation before. I thought it might be great to do a very wet show in this current situation where everything is falling apart. And Trump is not really helping. In it, the carpet is full of water and there is water dripping from the windows. It’s raining inside instead of outside, which creates a semi-apocalyptic landscape. It’s not the most joyous installation but there’s a lot of humour. It’s quite a sad show, in a way, as if the room is crying and saying: What have we done to the world?”
The Wet sequence was one of the few that Prouvost hadn’t yet tackled. “I’ve made installations of almost all of the sequences by now. God First Hairdresser / Gossip Sequence was first shown in Toronto and is also included in my exhibition in Milan. While you watch the film, you can get your hair cut. For the Drunk sequence – shown at the International Project Space (IPS) and Art Exchange in England – the screen was almost falling down onto the audience. The Time sequence Again, A Time Machine consisted of a series of labyrinths and was presented at Spike Island in Bristol.” As the Golf/ Authority Sequence still hasn’t been turned into an installation, there is more to look out for. Who knows what will next spurt forth from Prouvost’s wild imagination.
GDM – GRAND DAD’S VISITOR CENTER, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, Italy, Until 09 April 2017