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Deep Lead
Original title: Dieplood
1996
Lead, zinc and iron
Dimensions: 124 x 120.5 x 22 cm
Reference: ACF0651
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Diverse and contradictory it may be, but the body of Lili Dujourie's work shares a constant allusion to art in itself. In her creations, from her beginnings in the seventies to the present, there is a repeated reference to the past. On some occasions, as in her works in velvet, her debt to the lushness and visual seduction of Baroque painting is clear. Other pieces start from a denunciation of the lack of political commitment of certain contemporary currents. In 1996 she did various works in lead -Luaide, Gravure and Stillood - which share not only the use of the material but also a statement of her attitude to the practice and language of art. Dieplood is a turning point between those works and the ones which followed a year later, using lead and other materials and with similar iconographic resources: Des points cardinaux, Grijze velden and Substantia. With Dieplood Dujourie retrieves the idea of the still life, shunning traditional elements such as the skull or the hourglass, but keeping the search for references in art through fabrics. Flemish painting depicted a vast number of spectacular materials printed with richly coloured figures, even as one of the national signs of identity. This work, anchored to the wall, is a simple composition consisting of a metal bar from which three similar sized objects hang; in their form and appearance they recall fabrics. The wish to suggest fabrics is obvious; the elements of the piece are folded just as we often see materials folded, though they are larger than what we are used to in everyday life. Those iconographic references are nothing new in her work: by the seventies she had often used metal cylinders similar to this one and, from the eighties, as we said before, fabrics had been the central feature of many of her creations. In this work, however, Dujourie plays with the spectator, disappointing our expectations. On the more formal side, our first impression is the contrast between a motif we imagine soft to the touch, light, in which we expect to see a wide range of shades of colour, and the real appearance of the work. Instead of an attractive combination of sensorial values, we find ourselves confronted with a piece of zinc, iron and lead, monochrome and cold, which looks extremely heavy. That visual deception to which Dujourie subjects us leads us to a reading of the work which starts from that very idea of deception: the work of art cannot be a substitute for what really exists. The binomial formed by artistic creation and reality -possibly two sides of the same coin- is indissoluble, but we cannot ask the work to promise us answers to the countless questions posed by our lives. Many artists -symptomatically many sculptors- have gone to great pains to make it clear that art does not provide statements; it asks questions. By creating a work which is intensely silent due to the small number of elements it contains, with a title that reminds us of its toxic essence -lead is harmful to the health-, Dujourie seems to want to insist on that aspect.

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