South London Gallery, London  9 March - 5 June
Gaudel De Stampa, Paris 3-26 February

IL Y AURA (There will be), 2022, is a new film installation by French-British artist Alice Theobald (b. 1985).  The film is inspired by Eugène Ionesco’s play La Leçon, 1951. In a Parisian apartment, a young woman arrives in an older man’s home for an ambiguous ritualised language lesson. She is invited to read her ‘exercises’ and begins to nervously recite a series of phrases describing various scenes that ‘will be’ in the future. As the phrases become more surreal, the professor’s behaviour becomes more animated, erratic and sinister.

The film stars French actor Thibault de Montalembert (Call my Agent, 2015-present; My Sex Life… or How I Got Into an Argument, 1996) and the artist herself. This work has emerged from the artist’s personal experience as a bilingual Franco-British person brought up in the UK. Conflating fiction, personal experience and memory with a refusal to offer clear narrative resolutions, this film draws on intimate elements of Theobald’s French heritage and the experience of gradually losing her mother tongue.

Shot on Super 16mm and using handheld camera, the film has the aesthetic of a home movie, characteristic of Theobald’s previous recorded performance works. At its most delirious, IL Y AURA (There will be), 2022, comments on social customs, clichés, learnt modes of behaviour and the cyclical nature of producing fiction whilst simultaneously being produced by it.

IL Y AURA (There will be) is written, directed and edited by the artist and is her first French language film. The film’s score is written with musician Tom Hirst (American Sound/ Design a Wave). 

The exhibition is curated by Anne-Sophie Dinant.

IL Y AURA (There will be), Installation view, South London Gallery 2022

STARRING Thibault de Montalembert and Alice Theobald
WRITTEN and DIRECTED by Alice Theobald
PRODUCED by Anne-Sophie Dinant
CINEMATOGRAPHY (Super 16mm) by Ville Pippo
SOUND RECORDING by Nassim El Mounabbih
CAMERA ASSISTANCE  by Rhaissa Monteiro Pinto
EDITING by Alice Theobald
MUSIC WITTEN AND SCORED by Tom Hirst (American Sound) and Alice Theobald.
Songs “A Rose” and “Golden” by American Sound
COLOUR GRADING by Black Kite Studios & Richard Fearon

Location courtesy of Nathalie Najbor

Supported by SOLARIS (Fonds DLD), South London Gallery, The Foundation Foundation, Cnap, FLUXUS, Gaudel de Stampa, Elodie Latapie.

With thanks to Penny Klein, John Bloomfield, Francoise Theobald, Brigitte Sandron, Conceicao Goncalves, Rachel Pimm, Violeta Kreimer, Wilf Speller