Helen Marten, the winner of the 2011 Prix Lafayette, pokes humorously at questions of ownership or dishonesty in materials.
The video Evian Disease, newly developed for Palais de Tokyo, is the second work by the artist that exploits the medium of digital animation. Formulated as a dialogue between six characters, the video is a speculative composition, a wild chase in search of the place and speed of the contemporary individual. In forcing language to misbehave – to deaden or to excite – the domestic and universal are packaged into the same plane, with casual nature and transformative cultural chaos stylized as friction-activating themes. Behind the sanitized, yet ultimately seductive formal vocabulary of digital animation and the relentless omnipresence of the spoken word, a plot – whose ends only momentarily meet – begins to unfold.
Making assiduous use of the collision of surfaces, the meeting of symbols and the superimposition of materials, Helen Marten delights in the deliberateness of error. The artist ties signs together and unties them, leafing between and contaminating subjects that force public life into categories: projection, status, environment, consumption, sexiness. There is a patchwork (and seams), but the whole process is one of progressive layering, of artificial knots, foils and surface diversions. In this complex network of borrowing there lies an inclination towards the comedic and the communicational, the domestically motivational and the wonderful obscenity of today.