La Réunion

Leïla Payet

Born in 1983

Lives and works in Reunion Island

What could a « Braille nipple kit », little walls made out of sugar cubes and a film showing the escape and torments of a Creole woman on the peaceful banks of a river possibly have in common ? At first glance, Leïla Payet’s work seems evasive, indescribable and hard to figure out. Just like the artist herself, it is made up of a wide range of forms and questions, chaotic and complex, the product of ceaseless ricochets, indicators of her extreme receptiveness to the world and nebulosity. Her work should be understood as the unfurling of a (plastic) way of thinking that develops as layers, from her performance pieces to her research projects on the makings of culture and of its narratives. From the experience of solitude to the great dance of life. But in order to analyse it, one must first force oneself to eliminate any and all attempt at generalisation and approach it as scattered fragments. Only then does her enigmatic output reveal itself as a « construction » in which each work never ceases to question and renegotiate art’s relation with society.

Extract from She Is an Island, Indescribable and Indivisible - Language and Space in the Work of Leïla Payet, by Diana Madeleine
Translated by Lucy Pons + Biographical notes translated with the support of the Centre national des arts plastiques - Cnap.