Sylvie Fleury

Beauty Case


Video, sound, colour


© 2020 Sylvie Fleury

Courtesy Karma International and the Artist


In this video, the back of an American car once again takes up the foreground of the image. For six minutes we watch, to the sounds of a swinging piece of 1960s music, a woman in a yellow evening gown and high heels struggling to open the trunk of her Buick and place a beauty case inside.


A single unmoving medium close-up, level with the car's trunk, details the difficulties the woman meets with in her endeavor. Once she has got her beauty case in the trunk, she tries to close it but to no avail. She then bends over the trunk, leaning the upper half of her body inside, but despite what seems to be some stratagem on her part to close it, she fails once again. Finally, after several tries and a touch of impatience, she succeeds. She gets behind the wheel and drives off, disappearing around a corner. At that very moment, the music stops, then takes up again after a short break. We then see the same automobile coming into camera range and pull up to the same spot.


After this short trip, the woman gets out of the car, walks back to the trunk to open it and recover her beauty case. Unable to close it once again, she uses another similar stratagem, plunging her upper body into the opening. She extracts herself from the trunk with no little difficulty, slams the lid shut, gets back behind the wheel, taking her beauty case with her inside, and drives off.


Sylvie Fleury enjoys playing with the weaknesses and conventional tricks of femininity, displacing them in a bid to lend them new life through their contact with the mysterious world of mechanical things.


Isabelle Aeby Papaloïzos

Sylvie Fleury

Car Wash (Vivier)


Video, colour, sound


© 2020 Sylvie Fleury

Courtesy of Karma International and the Artist


Car Wash (Vivier) returns to the theme of Car Wash, 1995 with a single more detailed episode. A lone static shot shows us a woman dressed in an evening gown and equipped with a pail busy washing her car.


The vehicle arrives at the carwash, the driver cuts the motor, opens the door and gets out with a pail in hand. She is wearing a shimmering evening gown and high highs. As the camera is placed quite close to the ground, only the woman's legs can be seen in the image. We see her from behind. She begins by spraying the car with a hose. Splashes of water hit the lens and the viewfinder fogs up. She cleans the front of the car, rubbing the chrome bumper and the headlights with a sponge. Then she rinses the car, does the windows, dries the body and finally polishes it with care. Throughout a repetitive music accompanies her as she works. The rhythm slows down when she puts away her cleaning things and climbs behind the wheel to drive off.


Here again Sylvie Fleury places side by side two fields of activity that have no apparent connection, merrily conjuring up the same devotion women show fashion and men their automobiles. Although they share a system of values, they surely do not attribute the same value to it.


Isabelle Aeby Papaloïzos