Laure Prouvost Invites Gallery Visitors to Dig for Her Missing Grandfather

Laure Prouvost, "Burrow Me" at Rupert.
Photo: Courtesy of http://www.rupert.lt.
Laure Prouvost portrait. Photo: © the artist, courtesy MOTInternational.

Laure Prouvost portrait.
Photo: © the artist, courtesy MOTInternational.

Artist Laure Prouvost has an unusual solo show this month at Rupert, an arts center in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Best known for her films and installations, Prouvost won the 2013 Turner Prize for her video titled Wantee, which is an homage to Edith Thomas, the young partner of Dadaist Kurt Schwitters.

Burrow Me” traces the steps of Prouvost’s grandfather—a fictional fellow artist and contemporary of Schwitters, who she says went missing 20 years ago after he dug a tunnel during a performance piece and disappeared.

For the work, the artist is inviting visitors to take a shovel and dig to find him. Using material from her home and from the earth around the arts center, the artist built special shovels for the project. Visitors can choose either a “GPS Shovel,” a “4 Step Shovel, a “Sexy Shovel,” a “Reading Shovel,” or a “Drunk Shovel” to dig for his fictional remains.

“How you might relate to the past and your own grandparents is real,” former Tate director Penelope Curtis told the Guardian about the ongoing project. “That’s why it touches people.”

Laure Prouvost at Rupert. Photo: © Rupert.

Laure Prouvost at Rupert.
Photo: © Rupert.

The Rupert exhibition is the final part to a two-part collaboration between the artist and the arts center. In 2014, Prouvost organized an evening of performance, film screenings, and dialogue with writer and curator Isla Leaver-Yap.

“What is the difference between fiction and reality? And who cares anyway?” the artist told the Guardian in a 2013 interview, when pressed about her real grandfather’s identity. “It’s up to you. Do you want to believe? Wouldn’t you like to believe?”

Laure Prouvost at Rupert. Photo:  © Arnas Anskaitis.

Laure Prouvost at Rupert.
Photo: © Arnas Anskaitis.

Laure Prouvost at Rupert. Photo: © Rupert.

Laure Prouvost at Rupert.
Photo: © Rupert.

Laure Prouvost at Rupert. Photo:  © Arnas Anskaitis.

Laure Prouvost at Rupert.
Photo: © Arnas Anskaitis.

“Burrow Me” will be on view from July 17 through September 6, 2015 at Rupert.

Related stories:

Turner Prize-Winner Laure Prouvost Is Finally Represented in France

Athamer and Prouvost’s New Museum Opening

Artworks by Laure Prouvost at MOT International


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