Liv Schulman’s films hijack television codes to engage in a biting analysis of traditional representations of gender and identity. Far from locking herself into scholarly postures, the artist prefers to play with irony and the absurd in order to better undermine all the clichés.
For her solo exhibition at Frac Bretagne, Liv Schulman has chosen to present the two seasons of her television series Brown, Yellow, White and Dead, 2020 and Brown, Yellow, White and Dead Dead, 2022. The public is invited to sit in a sculptural environment to watch the episodes broadcast alternately on either side of the space.
The first season Brown, Yellow, White and Dead, 2020 is a four-episode huis-clos in which Liv Schulman returns to the themes that are dear to her: sexuality, minority rights, but also the creative process. The artist adopts the codes of TV series and reality TV and tackles a cinematographic cliché, that of the film being made. In a makeshift living room, barricaded with large brown cardboard boxes taped shut to isolate the action from the outside world, producers, a director and actors discuss a horror film project which, in the process, is being made before our eyes. The script is read as attempts to direct the film, analyses, criticisms and arguments are made, with the protagonists either biting their toes or rolling on the floor. As is so often the case with Liv Schulman, in this case in piles of slimy, dodgy material, the references place the series in the tradition of films such as François Truffaut’s Day for Night or Jean-Luc Godard’s Keep Your Right Up, in an atmosphere that borrows from gore, Bis cinema or popular horror series. One of the great moments of Brown, Yellow, White and Dead is a lively discussion about the meaning of the insult “faggot”, where the protagonists rub themselves against the walls in a joyful dance that gets out of hand: this is how the film’s LGBTQIA+ commitment manifests itself, unambiguously, but in the liberating mode of a “state of anarchic trance”, making a mockery of those who give lessons.
In the second season Brown, Yellow, White and Dead Dead, 2022, the artist sets the scene in an underground car park. The protagonists of the first season are back, discussing and acting out possible scenarios for a horror film. From the very first episode, the viewer is caught up in the hypnotic spiral of speeches. Disembodied speeches, with no head or tail, spouted by prosumers  in perpetual retraining. Here, we know how to make kombucha and kefir, we think we are a shaman, a dietician and a sophrologist. Here, everything is possible, everything is interchangeable. The speeches of the car park present a new masculinity engaged in craft activities or those traditionally associated with women. The time is no longer vertical, as they say. People are setting up their own business while ensuring a less hierarchical organisation of work and production.
Based on Liv Schulman and creative chaos by Vanessa Morisset for Switch on paper, 2021 and Brown, Yellow, White and Dead Dead by Fatma Cheffi, 2022, public document published by the galerie anne barrault for the exhibition The New Inflation, April 9 – May 22, 2022.
 This term seeks to describe the tendencies of consumers to become more professional and closer to the figure of the producer (Wikipedia)
Liv Schulman (1985, Argentina) lives and works in Paris
Liv Schulman studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris-Cergy, Goldsmiths University in London, UTDT in Buenos Aires and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts, Lyon. Her work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions, notably at the Bemis Center for contemporary arts in Omaha, USA, the CRAC Alsace in Altkirch, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Ricard Foundation in Paris, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, the MABA in Nogent-sur-Marne, Triangle France in Marseille and the Galerie Centre d’art contemporain in Noisy-le-Sec. She also participated in the Ateliers de Rennes-Biennale d’art contemporain in 2016.
Image : Liv Schulman, Brown, Yellow, White and Dead Dead, Episode 1. Detail capture © ADAGP, Paris 2023 – Courtesy of the artist, galerie anne barrault and Piedras galeria