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Universal Reformer No.0014
Universal Reformer No.0014, Sylvie (Are You Gonna Wear Higher Heels to the Moon?)
Broomstick, acrylics, hairpiece

My first encounter with Sylvie...My first encounter with art? I guess when I was 3 years old...haha..and I saw te Tinguely installation. There was a while, during the early 2000s or so, when every time I looked at shop windows I thought that the people creating the windows had been flipping through my catalogues and become inspired by my mixing of fashion and art. Sylvie means to transform everything she touches into pure gold, like a contemporary alchemist! Through this controversial action she wants to evoke the consumerism era of today, a sort of follower of Pop Art, with a further, stronger, meaning: her art addresses shopping, extra-terrestrials, and New Age thinking She has a great sense of humor, creating glamorous provocations. I’m someone who’s really inspired by objects. So it’s encounters with objects, or with situations which <i then try to make eh to realize with various mediums. So yeah in Switzerland there was also Meret Oppenheim and also Niki de Saint Phalle. I think in a way my work is a lot about freedom. The notion of being a woman and having as much freedom as possible.
You can explain my feeling for Sylvie by comparing it to my friendship with Zaza. I have kept my nostalgia for that my whole life.”
From the moment the studious Sylvie meets Andrée, she is besotted by the girl’s zest for life: Andrée swims in rivers and gallops on horseback; she is moved every time she looks at a peach. “The heavenly gift she’d received—and which I marveled at so much—would manifest itself in the most disconcerting way: it was character,” Sylvie says. Just as Zaza taught young Simone the “delight of intellectual exchange,” as de Beauvoir recalls in All Said and Done, the final volume of her autobiography, Andrée teaches Sylvie the pleasure of discussing books and ideas. Sylvie’s all-consuming love for her friend transforms her, pulling her away from her strict Catholic upbringing and her habit of confession. She becomes determined to “eat, read, speak, and dream in whatever way I pleased,” even if the worldly life she wants is seen as sinful. But while Sylvie grows more independent, Andrée becomes trapped by familial and faith-based obligations, desperate to deserve her mother’s and God’s love. She is roped into tedious balls, expected to stop her studies and her music, and forbidden from seeing Bernard, the boy she wants to marry, whose family isn’t part of her social circle. In Andrée’s world, piety and love, being a good daughter and being a good person, are indistinguishable; the threat of punishment for not being either tears her apart. Sylvie tries, and fails, to convince Andrée that following her heart is not a sin, that being pure is not a prerequisite for a joyful life, raging, “Everyone wants to save her. And she wants so much to have a bit of happiness on this earth!” Eventually, Andrée, miserable and wasting away, comes down with a fever and, like Zaza, dies young.