Thirty years of Lesueur to be celebrated in French Academy

"Marked Fairy" by Natacha Lesueur

ROME – The French Academy, Villa Medici, will be the venue for ‘Like a Dancing Dog,’ an exhibition running Oct. 13 to Jan. 9 that will pay tribute to 30 years of work by renowned French artist Natacha Lesueur.

 Lesueur, a former Villa Medici scholar, is primarily inspired by the human body - she studies not only its demeanour and appearance, but also the intimate relationship between the exterior and interior of a person. Across a series of images constructed like paintings, the human form is subjected to various treatments in an aim to remove “the constraint, the mask and the ‘mise-en-scène’ at the same time”.

 Curated by Christian Bernard, the exhibition contains more than 80 works of art in the form of a thematic visual narrative. The photographs are unedited, offering a more intimate glimpse at her work process, and the display also confronts her unique areas of interest: plastic and politics.

 The humorous title supposedly alludes to Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. It expresses her awareness of the experience of the woman artist, and sets the tone for an exposition where the incongruous and the extravagant are treated with the utmost seriousness.

 From her earliest works (1993-98) to her most recent exhibition (The Moods of Fairies 2020-21), the representation of the feminine is omnipresent in her works, often unsettling, always ambiguous. Lesueur takes the traditional female roles: wife, mother, princess, actress, ballerina, etc, and through subverting the obligations of beauty, youth and slimness, the artist strives to reveal, not without a sense of humour, how societal and cultural constraints manifest.

 As well as photography, Lesueur’s terracotta vases, ceramic sculpture fountains, drawings and video works will punctuate the exhibition.

 Bernard describes the experience as “a multi-dimensional production that develops along a journey, marked by its singular application of the strange and ambiguous.”