Conjugasion du Desire (2020) directed by photographer Ilenia Arosio is a portrait of the multidisciplinary Parisian artist Vava Dudu. A portrait of the Parisian artist Vava Dudu, crosses the practice of drawing and writing, on every surface and consistency, from paper, to fabric to sound and performance with the electro-zouk group La Chatte. A foray into the world of Vava through the meticulous observation of the microcosm of her studio, with infinite references.
Words by ELISABETH LEBOVICI
Vava Dudu opens up her heart on Instagram. ‘I feel like flying away’ ‘You haven’t responded to my gaze’ ‘You chase after trains that have left without me’; or the perfect ‘Good evening’. These lines which often take the form of apostrophes (most of the time addressed to someone, including herself) aren’t meant as comments or abstract titles, far from it. They are drawn or sewn on things. They are attached to dull or bright material (colourful as in ‘La Chatte’), clothes, the whole garment, backs, sleeves, front pieces, sheets or quite simply blue coloured rectangles. However, each of the these lines, each of these letters or the words are cleverly arranged on blue or red lines like in a notebook, and then madly jumbled up. Nothing appears singularly, whether it’s hairy, fragmentary or fragmented, worn, creased or smooth. Everything converges. Accentuated by the photographic framework on Instagram, the character of her writings, which are more alive than lived, express with difficulty a museum presentation of white cubes like the heroization of an artist. One would only consider this sign of Ⓐmour with a capital ‘A’, encircled by anarchy. One needs to be wary of negativity at play in ‘these words everywhere’ (Vava Dudu ), this ever expanding calligraphy.
Self-taught, Vava Dudu knows very well the particular materiality of fanzines, brochures, catalogues, flyers, photocopies, what José Esteban Muñoz called « the Ephemeral of Evidence ». Evidence of what? Of what can appear as a non object for disciplines such as the history of art, of design or a history of fashion, but is part of a queer impulse that intends to discuss an object whose ontology, in its inability to ‘count’ as a proper ‘proof’ is profoundly queer . It’s not only in the porous or ephemeral relationships that animate parties, night performances and in the night, the stage, the music, the style of clothes, the make up, the blue tattooed lips, the highs and lows of recreational drug use, or the sentiments or excess of blue that we can place the graphomaniac activity of Vava Dudu, but we can also observe, at the centre of her activity, the absence of rigidity, the fluidity and the rapid curves of her sketchings, of her lines made without effort, without lifting her hand, creating breasts and high heel shoes, tongues and hands, hearts and vulvas, fingers and mouths and mouths inside eyes.. these anatomies of desire are evident, says Vava Dudu, in her interest for all that is linear, automatic drawing, repetition. It is a little bit like a dictation given by the mind. We go where we are invited to go.
‘Correct me if the configuration of my desires is not on your path’.
1 Quotes are extracted from the video ‘Conjugaison du Désir’
2 José Esteban Muñoz, Ephemera as evidence, Ephemera as Evidence: Introductory Notes to QueerActs Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory 8:2 (1996)
Vava Dudu (French, b. 1970) is a designer, artist, musician, poet and assistant to Jean Paul Gaultier. Vava won the prestigious ANDAM French Fashion Award with Fabrice Lorraine (2001), collaborating among others with Peaches, Bjork, Neneh Cherry, Rihanna, with some of her pieces and drawings in the collection of the Galliera Museum and Lafayette Anticipations. Her band La Chatte, found in 2010 with Stéphane Argillet/Stereovoid & Nicolas Jorio/Nikolu, produced the first album Bastet for the French cult label Tsunami-Addiction. Her recent poems book was published by Tabloid Press (Berlin), the Risograph edition was complete in residency at the Centre fo Fine Arts, Brussels [BOZAR].
Film courtesy Ilenia Arosio and SPRINT—Independent Publishers and Artists’ Books Salon, Milan. Supported by Spazio Maiocchi.
Soundtrack by La Chatte song Pêche from the LP CRASH OCÉAN, 2013.
Extract from the book VAVA DUDU  published by Tabloid Press, Berlin. Vava Dudu poems were translate from French to English by Geo Wyeth and edited by Alberto García Castillo; Risograph printed by We Make It, Berlin, edition of 200, 10×14 cm.
Post production & sound N7FAA52318 Studio.
Subtitles Sophie Villa.
Thanks to Chez Jeannette Paris, Gloria Reiko Pedemonte ~ Tsunami-Addiction, Edmee Lynn Smart, Nat Marcus & Zoe Darsee ~ Tabloid Press Berlin, Nala Thiam, Giulia Tognon & Constantin Jopeck w/Keechie.