Turn Me On Please, no more of that kind of stuff  is the title of Sylvie Fleury’s solo exhibition at the Agnelli Art Gallery: Revolver, a work from 2009, fits perfectly into the ironic and allusive vision of the exhibition that the artist proposes, as a slogan and as a provocation. A gun, placed on a museum base, an archaeological piece or perhaps an object recovered from a crime scene, is transformed into a roaring and aggressive hair dryer: two polar opposite stereotypes, the gunman man and the pin up woman. The household appliance becomes a weapon, the stereotype turns against itself and shows a stance against patriarchal power.

The golden gun with decorations that refer to the typical settings of western films, in which the female figure is practically completely absent, becomes the new weapon in the hand of every woman: the decontextualization and its transformation into a household appliance (subtle allusion that the artist does to market dynamics within the art world) makes it an everyday object, a symbol of an acquisition of power that can be and must be exercised at any time. Sylvia Fleury, always moving between different genres such as pop art, minimalism and ready made, does not fully recognize herself in a single genre but rather plays at mixing plans and definitions to build a critique of gender stereotypes. Sculpture becomes a playful but meditated critique of boring mental schemes that have populated mass culture and that still maintain a strong root in collective thought. The artist, playing with the limits of the history of art and the standardized attitudes of our society, offers a seductive and radical image: the weapon is the everyday life, the distinction is the gaze with which one observes.

Bang Bang, he shot me down
Bang Bang, I hit the ground
Bang Bang, that awful sound
Bang Bang, my baby shot me down”[1]

Nancy Sinatra sang Bang Bang in 1966, Sylvia Fleur with Revolver seems to give the opportunity to turn the lines with her lethal design: the weapon loses its purely masculine heritage to transform itself into a dialectical object with a new subversive charge. “Bang Bang, I shot you down. Bang bang, you hit the ground ”, could now sing Nancy Sinatra.

Revolver is on display within Sylvie Fleury’s solo Turn Me On Please, no more of that kind of stuff at the Pinacoteca Agnelli Turin until January 15, 2023.


Sylvie Fleury
Revolver, 2009
Turn Me On Please, no more of that kind of stuff, credit Installation view Pinacoteca Agnelli Torino, Courtesy Almine Rech Gallery Brussels

[1] Bang Bang (My Baby Shot me Down), Nancy Sinatra, 1966