Aline Bouvy, Enclosure, 2021

Entrance of the fair

Aline Bouvy (b. in 1974 in Belgium, lives and works in Brussels and Perlé) studied at the Ecole de recherche graphique (erg) in Brussels and the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. The sculptures, objects and installations that make up her practice are difficult to define. Bouvy is not content to follow well-honed “disciplines” and established techniques, but explores the limits and possibilities of a wide range of media. She chooses shapes, words, colours and symbols that she extracts from their contexts and assembles to create new meanings – sequences of associations that are both archetypal and very personal. Different layers of meaning are juxtaposed, often literally. The artist takes a critical look at society by revealing its dialectical contradictions: debauchery and modesty, dissimulation and display, desire and constraint. Recognisable forms – symbols of fertility, utensils, limbs – but also colours and specific materials such as charcoal, linoleum or plexiglass are thus invested with an aesthetic or moral dimension.

A tall brushed stainless steel structure that suggest a feminine profile, Enclosure is an allusion to the scold’s bridle”, a device used in 16th-century England to publicly humiliate women who “talked too much” and “disturbed the public order”. At around the same time in England, the enclosure movement developed, which saw the privatisation of agriculture, characterised by the progressive abolition of common lands and the development of an economy seeking to maximise profit – an evolution that took place to the detriment of women, who were henceforth confined to a non-monetised reproductive activity (producing “human resources” by raising children, etc.). The feminist author Silvia Federici, whose work Caliban and the Witch inspired Bouvy for this piece, draws a parallel between the witch hunts demonising the “proletarian woman” and the rise of capitalism. In the interior space of Enclosure, a symbol of patriarchal domination, Bouvy has sown belladonna, a toxic plant that also has therapeutic, cosmetic (it dilates the pupils) and hallucinatory properties. Belladonna was associated with the witches’ sabbath, and by extension with the taboo surrounding female pleasure, as the plant could induce states of ecstasy.

With the support of Nosbaum Reding, Luxembourg/Brussels and the City of Luxembourg

Bildschirmfoto 2022-06-22 um 10.09.49
Aline Bouvy, Enclosure, 2020, brushed stainless steel, soil, grass, plants, h 316 cm, Ø 160 cm