Back in the 1980s, when her work was lumped under the epiphenomenonal rubric of commodity fetishism, Sylvie Fleury produced slick tableaus that leveled a tart, feminist gaze on fashion and luxury consumption. In her first solo exhibition here in more than ten years, the Swiss artist sticks to the script, with swank jibes at three big-dog talents: Carl Andre, Daniel Buren and Damien Hirst.
The pieces’ lush production values—as glossy and colorful as a magazine spread—seem at odds with our straitened times, but that’s not why the show, though visually striking, is unsatisfying. The problem lies with the kind of shots that Fleury takes at her targets; they scarcely seem worth the bother.
In a send-up of one of Hirst’s insipid dot paintings, the composition swells to suggest enormous breasts. Similarly, the centerpiece installation consists of a room wallpapered in Buren-style vertical stripes, parted in places to create vulva-shaped apertures. On the floor, a copy of an Andre steel-tile carpet is accompanied by unplugged theater lights and a rainbow array of fuck-me stilettos in an arrangement suggesting an abandoned Vogue shoot. It’s actually part of a performance, documented in a video on an outdoor flatscreen beside the gallery entrance. In it, a woman wearing high heels strolls over the “Andre” like a runway model cum avenging dominatrix. Take that, alleged killer of Ana Mendieta!
Other pieces are less focused on the apparent theme. A full-length mirror in the shape of a razor blade doesn’t add much, though it would make a great gift for a well-heeled cocaine abuser. Failing at satire, Fleury’s show is really more of a bauble: lavish, well-crafted, but empty in the end.—Howard Halle