Love Life II, 2022, Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles

↑ Love life (Skull) et Knife, Scalpel, Blade, 2022, Paris + par Art Basel, © Gregory Copitet

Vues d'exposition, Paris + par Art Basel, © Gregory Copitet, 2022, Paris

Si vous n'avez rien d'autre à faire, répétez rapidement, en faisant attention à la manière dont vos dents effleurent vos lèvres : v, puis f; puis v, puis f. Love puis life, love life, love life.
Love Life, en français, ça donne « vie amoureuse » ou « vie sentimentale ». La traduction est exacte, mais un peu froide. Elle perd la symétrie de ces mots à une syllabe et quatre lettres, consonne-voyelle-consonne-voyelle, et la presque double allitération, d'abord deux fois L, puis juste une nuance à peine perceptible entre f et v. C'est presque doux, comme P. qui me glisse que love life peut aussi être un verbe, to love life, aimer la vie : un conseil, ou même une injonction. Love life! – aime·z la vie ! Aimer la vie, des mots d'une candeur inhabituelle dans l'artspeak de l'art contemporain, mais que je peux imaginer dans la voix de P.
Ça sonne comme une chanson ringarde, du genre qu'on a honte d'écouter mais qui touche en rappelant l'essentiel. « Vie » est un mot vague parce qu'immense, qui contient tout et donc trop, mais qui a le mérite de rappeler ce qu'on veut vraiment de tous nos efforts, tous nos combats, toutes nos souffrances. Une vie différente, une vie meilleure ; peut-être une vie tout court, pour tou·te·s celleux qui sont soumis·es à l'arbitraire, à la violence, à la négation de leur être. D'œuvre en œuvre, P. revient souvent vers ce mot de « vie », comme une question posée encore et encore avec des termes chaque fois un peu différents. Dans sa vidéo HEVN (2021) le mot « vie » revient dans le texte/poème en sous-titre, dilué dans des tâches jaune pâle, qui demande : « Is there life outside? ». P. ne fait pas attendre et donne une réponse dans le plan/vers suivant : « Dream a metal tongue—Pussy boy ». Le ton, fait de métal et de sueur, est donné.

Lucas Morin, septembre 2022
Relecture et correction : Boris Atrux-Tallau

If you have a moment to spare, try making the sounds v and f. Vvv then fff. Lovvve, then lifffe. Love life. Say the two words quickly. Notice how your front teeth brush against your lower lip as you say them. Love Life. Notice the gentle alliteration of the two four-letter words, starting with l and ending in a barely distinguishable v and f. Lovelife.
Love Life has the energy of a cheesy song that you listen to as a guilty pleasure: a one-hit-wonder that moves you because it speaks to some basic truth. P. reminds me that “love life” could be a piece of advice or even a command. Love your life! These words sound too earnest for contemporary art lingo, but I can easily imagine hearing them in P.’s voice.
The word “life” is vague because of its enormity; it encompasses everything and nothing. However, it can be a way of reminding us why we persevere through all our struggles and setbacks. In search of a different life. A better life. Or maybe a life full stop for people whose existence is filled with deprivation, pain and injustice. P. uses the word “life” in work after work, as if they are constantly asking the same question in different ways. In the video HEVN (2021), the word appears in the white text surrounded by a pale yellow haze at the bottom of the screen, asking “Is there life outside?”.

Lucas Morin, September 2022
Translated from the French by Michael Angland

P. Staff, "Love Life", Galerie Sultana, 2022, Paris

Exhibition views, Kingdom of the Ill - MUSEION, 2022

↑ Conjunctions, 2021, LUMA Arles, France, Crédit Photo: Marc Domage

Conjunctions, 2021, LUMA Arles, France, Photo: Marc Domage

↑ Eat Clean Ass Only (Hologram)
2020
Holographic Video, 3 minutes, edition of 5
↑ The Appetite, 2020, Exhibition views, Yesn't II, Galerie Sultana, Paris
↑ P Staff,The Appetite, 2020, Details, Galerie Sultana, Paris

Exhibition views, Yesn't II, 2020, Galerie Sultana, Paris

The Prince of Homburg, 2019, installation views, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland © 2019 Photo: Ruth Clark

↑ On Living, 2019. 10 MDF boxes, 13 steel etchings, dimensions variable; MDF boxes: 120 x 120 x 120 in (305 x 305 x 305 cm) each

On Venus, P Staff, (Installation view, 8 November 2019 - 9 February 2020, Serpentine Galleries) © 2019 Photo: Hugo Glenndinning

Exhibition views, 2017, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

BIO:

P Staff (b.1987, Bognor Regis, England) lives and works in Los Angeles, USA and London, UK. As a filmmaker, installation artist, and poet, P. Staff draws from a wide-ranging assortment of inspirations, materials, and settings, of which recent examples include Achille Mbembe’s theory of necropolitics, affect theory, the transpoetics of writers such as Che Gossett and Eva Hayward, as well as their own studies in modern dance, astrology, and end of life care. In Staff’s interdisciplinary practice, these varying threads serve to emphasise the processes by which bodies – especially those of people who are queer, trans, or disabled – are interpreted, regulated, and disciplined in a rigorously controlled society. They have exhibited extensively, gaining significant recognition and awards for their work which is held in private and public collections internationally. Staff received their BA in Fine Art and Contemporary Critical Studies from Goldsmiths University of London in 2009. They completed the LUX Associate Artists Programme and studied Contemporary Dance at The Place in London, in 2011

Recent solo exhibitions include: 'Love Life II', (Commonwealth and Council, 2022), USA; 'Love Life',(Galerie Sultana, 2022) Paris; Pure Means, Frieze Film, 2022; 'Recent Poems' (yaby, 2021),Madrid, Spain ; 'HEVN',(LUX,2021) London, UK; 'Stressed Herms Sweat and Period Gas', (ICA Shanghai, 2020), China; 'On Venus', (Serpentine Galleries, 2019) London, UK; 'The Prince of Homburg', (Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2019),Dublin, Ireland; 'The Foundation', (LUMA Westbau, 2019) Zürich, Switzerland;
'The Prince of Homburg', (Dundee Contemporary Arts, 2019), Dundee, Scotland; 'Hatefull to the Stomach, Harmefull to the Braine', (Commonwealth and Council, 2018)LA, USA; 'Weed Killer', (The Museum of Contemporary Art, 2022) Los Angeles, USA

Select group exhibitions include: The Milk of Dreams, (59th International Biennale di Venezia, 2022), Italy; 'Back to Earth', (Serpentine Galleries, 2022), London;'Songs of Cockaigne', (Anorak, 2022) Berlin, Germany;'Kingdom of the Ill', (Museion Bolzano, 2022)Italy;'Criaturas Vulnerable', (La Casa Encendida, 2022) Spain; 'Screwball', (Verge Gallery, 2022) Sydney, Australia; 'Bodies in Conflict', (Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, 2021), Canada
'Seen', (Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, 2021) UK; 'Actually,the Dead Are Not Dead', (WKV Stuttgart, 2021), Germany; 'Give, Up',(9 Cork Street, 2021), London, UK; 'A Biography of Daphne', (ACCA, 2021), Australia; 'Prelude', (LUMA Arles, 2021), France; '47 Canal', New York, USA; 'The Future in Present Tense', (Francois Ghebaly Gallery, 2021), New York, US; 'Bodies of Water': (13th Shanghai Biennale, 2021), China; 'An Apology, A Pill, A Ritual, A Resistance', (Remai Modern, 2021)Canada;
'Sensing Nature', (21st Momenta Biennale, 2021) Montreal, Canada; 'A Fire in my Belly', (Julia Stoschek Collection, 2021) Berlin, Germany;'Videonale 18: Fluid States. Solid Matter', (Kunstmuseum Bonn, 2021), Germany.

Download Full CV.

Sultana