Exhibition: Camille Henrot at Palais de Tokyo

"Sunday Night" | Exhibition view of Days are Dogs, Carte Blanche to Camille Henrot, Palais de Tokyo (18.10.2017 – 07.01.2018) Courtesy of the artist and kamel mennour (Paris/London); König Galerie (Berlin); Metro Pictures (New York) © ADAGP, Paris 2017 Photo: Aurélien Mole

With Days Are Dogs, Camille Henrot dedicates herself to a simple yet fundamental system of our everyday lives: the seven days of the week. A must-see!

Dog days, dog-tired, let sleeping dogs lie, work like a dog, and underdog – a dog’s life obviously offers a lot of room for interpretation. Just as these idioms were created to bring order into the world, the week is also a construct that gives us stability. We accept it without question.

The length of a year is calculated by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, the months are geared towards the position of the Moon, and the 24 hours of the day refer to the Earth’s rotation. The week, in contrast, is pure fiction – a man-made, global structure. The seven days of the week are the fundamental basis of our lives and tell us what we have to do and how it should feel. The Cure sang Friday I’m In Love back in 1992, John Travolta had Saturday Night Fever, Sundays are meant for an extended breakfast and lazing around, and sometimes the Monday blues seem worse than any midlife crisis. And sometimes there’s a whole universe between Monday and Sunday.

In the case of Days Are Dogs, a whole panorama of human existence and its determinacy opens up within a week. Beyond the classical Christian understanding of the world, at Palais de Tokyo Camille Henrot dedicates herself to more profound origins that bring our existence up to the present day into an easily comprehensible structure. Organized into seven parts, each room of their exhibition negotiates a day of the week in which conventions, emotions, and individual freedom are played off against each other.

Palais de Tokyo granted the artist free rein for the exhibition and so she utilizes the entire 13,000 square meters of the building. It’s only appropriate – Camille Henrot is traded like a leading French export. The expansive installations include drawings, frescoes, film works, and bronze sculptures by the artist. They are accompanied by additional works by contemporary artists such as Avery Singer, David Horvitz, and Samara Scott as well as texts by Ben Eastham, Orit Gat, Haidy Geismar, Miranda Lash, and Chris Kraus. Among the works on show is the film Grosse Fatigue, inspired by a short film by Ray and Charles Eames, for which the 39-year-old won the Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2013.

Camille Henrot loves a clash, excess, and the coincident, is not afraid of the banal, and lets positions and concepts collide with a roar of thunder. Padded out with anthropological, psychological, religious, and literary approaches, she explores the very basis of being in cosmic dimensions. And in so doing, the “Priestess of Chaos” ultimately triumphs over the complexity of the world: “As such, my ‘carte blanche’ is a meditation on dependency and freedom, on how to live with compromise and alterations to our ideals and yet to maintain our idealism and hope for change.”

Camille Henrot’s exhibition “Days are Dogs” is on show at Palais de Tokyo in Paris until January 7, 2017. All of the information can be found here.

Translation: Melissa Frost

Fashion, art, and pop culture are her cosmos; the written word, the material she uses to bring it all together. After studying in Leipzig, Lola Fröbe moved to Berlin in 2014. She works as a PR consultant and freelance journalist for publications such as L'Officiel, i-D, and Material Magazine.