Sylvie Fleury’s LA Bougainvillea

 All images by Jeff McLane

“Something familiar to slip into: glamour,” reads the flyer for Sylvie Fleury’s current show LA Bougainvillea at Karma International. Downstairs we find Fleury’s iconic cosmetic paintings; upstairs we find her new “cuddly” paintings, paired with Vetements flame boots and 3-way mirrors stamped with lipsticks the artist had made specifically for the exhibition. LA Bougainvillea is irritatingly picture-perfect; it couldn’t be more perfect if it was packed up inside a fur-lined shoe box with a lid that reads “Vital Perfection”—a box of which Fleury herself produced a hundred. Yes, LA Bougainvillea screams feminine fantasy so loudly I’m ashamed to like it so much. A purple motorcycle leans in front of the make-up paintings, a nod to Gloria Steinem’s book My Life on the Road, which Fleury also pulled from to create custom slogan t-shirts and hoodies. This is all done in Fleury’s classic style: simultaneously critical and tongue-in-cheek. 

For decades she’s been creating cosmetic inspired art—the readymade compacts which already resemble abstract paintings equipped with hyper-fetishized names like “Shimmer Shame” and “Lady Danger.” Fleury has a penchant for driving cars over make-up: see her video work  Drastic Make Up,” where a hydraulic car repeatedly smashes a pile of eyeshadows and foundations. Her latest commentary on stereotypes and consumer culture is endlessly enticing, which only makes the viewer feel complicit in Fleury‘s critique. See LA Bougainvillea at Karma International until June 30th. “All it takes is a woman with an attitude!” Text by Claire Milbrath