Artist's book: the last part of a complex project initiated in 2010—an exploration of the intimate legacies of Sun Ra's peculiar body of work.
The interpretation of an existing script or score is an essential element in
many performances. Lili Reynaud Dewar is interested in staging techniques
and ritualistic aspects of theatre: her work takes the form of installations
which include sculptures, texts, photographs and visual signs — and
also involve the live participation of musicians and actors. In the suite of
exhibitions and performances titled Interpretation, that she initiated in
2010, she develops her own reading, and explores the intimate legacies of a
peculiar body of work—that of the African American musician Sun
The book Interpretation can be considered as the last part of a complex
project that wasn't organized programmatically but rather, improvised
through a piecemeal approach to art and research as such. The publication
unfolds this elaboration through a text by the artist and documentation of
her working process; it also gathers multiple visions of Sun Ra, from
photographs taken by Philippe Gras at the concert Sun Ra and his Arkestra
gave in 1971 at the Fondation Maeght, to texts by Diedrich Diederichsen,
Anthony Elms and J. Griffith Rollefson on his music, his theatrics and his
politics. For a book is less a matter of pinning down the definite truth of
a fact, or of one's fiction, but an exercise in opening a multiplicity
Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at
Kunsthalle Basel from April to June, 2013.
Pulling from a multiplicity of influences – fashion subcultures, radical design, or the history of cinema –, Lily Reynaud Dewar (born 1975 in La Rochelle, France) draws slanting lines between her personal history and some universal cultural signifiers. She often identifies with icons of cultural or racial transgression, such as writer and activist Jean Genet, visionary jazz musician Sun Ra, or dancer Josephine Baker. Thanks to the use of performance and the text, and through ever-changing roles and the interplay of people and objects, Reynaud Dewar creates a dialogue that challenges fixed identities, or the politics of the exhibition.