Pierre Huyghe

Pierre Huyghe
October 23, 2013 – January 12, 2014

L’Expédition scintillante, Act I (Weather Score), 2002 
3 boxes, control system producing: snow, rain, fog

Three boxes affixed to the ceiling produce ice shavings, mist or bursts of water in an unidentifiable rhythm. Depending on the temperature in the exhibition space, a pile of snow begins to build and puddles of water to form. The artist programmed the sequence in which water, ice, and fog are emitted based on the weather patterns of the journey undertaken by the fictional character Pym from Edgar Allen Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (1838). 

 

Photo © Ola Rindal

Untilled (Liegender Frauenakt), 2012

Concrete cast on steel armature with patina, beehive  

The uncultivated beehive is growing as a living mask on the face of the statue, a concrete sculpture such as the ones you would expect to encounter in public parks. The statue is a reclining female nude by Max Weber most likely from the 1930s.

 

Photo © Ola Rindal

Exhibition view

Pierre Huyghe, 2013–14

Centre Pompidou, Paris

 

Photo © Ola Rindal

L’Expédition scintillante, Act II (Light Box), 2002
Light box sculpture; wood and steel; 4 black metal grills, lighting system, smoke system, electronic control dimming system; Alcorn McBride „plug and play (MP3 Inter activator show controller, light cue for lighting program)
Music: Gymnopédies 3 and 4 by Erik Satie (1888) conducted by Claude Debussy

 

Act II (Light Box) continues the theme of an imaginary expedition that unites the works of the L’Expédition scintillante series. An atmospheric colorful cloud of fog floats above the stage-like base of the sculpture. It is illuminated by dancing coloured beams of light whose movements are synchronized with compositions by Erik Satie. In reference to the larger project, the piece is sometimes described as “a music box composing concerts for penguins”, and indeed, it creates an enticing sonic and visual environment in which living beings might linger. 

 

Photo © Ola Rindal

Exhibition view

Pierre Huyghe, 2013–14

Centre Pompidou, Paris

 

Photo © Ola Rindal

Zoodram 2, 2010 (right)

Aquarium, stone, sand, livestock, lighting

Each of the Aquarium projects is a heterogeneous collection of subjects within a particular environment. The subjects are simultaneously real living entities and characters linked to a fictional background or archetype. They inhabit a constructed situation that takes the form of a tale.

 

RSI, un bout de réel, 2006 (on the ceiling)

Neons 

The work is based on a drawing by the French psychonanalyst and theoretician Jacques Lacan. The original sketch depicts the interrelation of the Real, Symbolic and Imaginary (thus the title "RSI"), concepts developed by Lacan. It evokes an absent body of work since, like Lacan's drawing, it simply shows several loosely intersecting circles, in stark contrast to the complex and voluminous literature that exists attempting to explain the psychonalytic model. 

 

The Host and the Cloud (film), 2009–10 (center)

HD video, color, surround sound, transferred to blu-ray

The work was conceived for a group of fifteen actors who wandered around in the abandoned museum and were exposed arbitrarily to different mind-altering influences (sleeping pills, hypnosis sessions, etc.). The situations were presented and interpreted by persons wearing luminescent masks, who also had the power to intervene in the action, taking an extra-diegetic role in these proceedings. 

 

Photo © Ola Rindal

Pierre Huyghe

Pierre Huyghe
Centre Pompidou – Galerie Sud, Paris
October 23, 2013 – January 12, 2014
Previous
Next

The Centre Pompidou is devoting a retrospective exhibition of the work of Pierre Huyghe: a major figure in the contemporary scene in France and on the international stage, presenting some fifty projects that provide an overview of the work he has been developing for over twenty years.

 

Since the Nineties, Pierre Huyghe, a major figure in the French and international art scene, has contributed to the redefinition of the status of the art work and the exhibition format, occasionally overlapping the two, such as by giving them the form of a diary (Anna Sanders, L‘histoire d‘un sentiment, 1997), an expedition to Antarctica (A Journey that Wasn‘t , 2005) or a yearly calendar in the shape of a circular garden (La Saison des fêtes, 2010). The exhibition aims to raise awareness of the living and organic dimension of his propositions, which envisage the space as a world in itself, unplanned, living according to its own rhythms. In 1995, the artist founded L‘Association des temps libérés (Association of Freed Time), where the aim was to „develop unproductive time, for a reflection on free time, and to cultivate a society without work“. He questions our relationship with time and collective memory, and reinvents new methods of celebration, such as the One Year Celebration project in 2006, which peppers the calendar with proposals for new holidays or celebrations contributed by various artists, such as a “holiday of art” or a commemoration of silence. While presenting some of his most iconic works, such as Blanche Neige Lucie, No Ghost Just a Shell, Atari Light and Streamside Day, this exhibition explores the aesthetic processes and issues at work in the assertion of his style in the late Eighties, after he graduated from the Paris École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs, and which are still very much present in his two latest pieces, The Host and the Cloud and Untilled.

 

„What interests me is constructing situations that take place in reality.“ From his 1996 project Extended Holidays, where Pierre Huyghe closed a vacant exhibition space to take his potential visitors on extended holidays, to the experimental The Host and the Cloud, which took place in three stages during Halloween, Saint Valentine‘s Day and Labour Day in 2010–2011 at the disused Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires, the exhibition is consolidated as a place where presence and vitality are intensified. Pierre Huyghe turns visitors to the exhibition into witnesses as soon as they enter the Centre Pompidou‘s Galerie Sud. „I‘m interested in the vital aspect of things, in the way an idea, an artefact or a language can flow into contingent, biological, mineral and physical reality. It‘s not a matter of showing something to someone so much as showing someone to something,“ says the artist. In an approach that has little of the theatrical, but which takes over forms and states of presence and is activated by the artist for the exhibition period, the show becomes a heterotopic space where art comes very close to life. Here the work constitutes the partial registration of a situation that moves beyond it, flowing into reality.

 

„I focus on something that is not played, but which exists in itself. I seek not to identify the relationship between subjects, but to invent conditions that lead to permeability, flow, and the indeterminate. What I‘m interested in is intensifying the presence of what is, to find its own particular presentation, its own appearance and its own life, rather than subjecting it to pre-established models. The exhibition constantly changes, and does not depend on us,“ says the artist. Like Untilled, a crater lying fallow, a womb of evolving plastic forms that grew from the compost heap of Karlsaue Park in Kassel in 2012, the Centre Pompidou exhibition takes root in the picture rails and remains of previous exhibitions, notably that of Mike Kelley, the one immediately before. It becomes part of it, in the way the hermit crab inhabits the head of Brancusi‘s La Muse endormie in the Surrealist aquarium Zoodram 4. „I try to work the space like an organism: it is not so much the objects, the elements, but instead the flow, the interplay arising between the elements", says the artist. He brings to light relationships that exist between works sometimes a decade apart, like the teenagers wearing animal heads in the Toison d‘or in a park in Dijon, moving around randomly outside the legend of the Golden Fleece, who are compared with the protagonists of the costumed procession of Streamside Day, or with Human, the dog with the pink leg. In a completely new architectural approach within the Galerie Sud, the extension of the exhibition space opens towards the outside as an outgrowth where some of the artist‘s organic and climatic works will exist. The exhibition thus becomes a stage in this singular body of work, and a starting point for moving towards the place of Pierre Huyghe‘s concerns and obsessions: one based on the idea of constructing a self-generating world that varies in time and space, indifferent to our presence.

 

By Emma Lavigne, curator at the Musée National d‘Art Moderne and curator of the exhibition, and Florencia Chernajovsky, research manager

Search