From 21 April 2004 to 18 July 2004
Curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev
Paris and New York-based artist Pierre Huyghe (b.1962) has been creating a variety of artworks and collaborative projects since the early 1990s. Interested in the exhibition as the location in which potential new realities can emerge, in the freedom of non-productive actions, in the layering of interpretations, both real and fictional, and in experience as a territory of infinite possible narratives, Huyghe’s practise has earned him a reputation as one of the most experimental artists of his generation.
Evident in his works is a recurring desire to introduce pleasure, play and childhood fantasy into art, and the impulse to consider art as a landscape in which to render manifest the way people can, and do, always react to any form of homogenizing attempts through encouraging the dynamic reconstruction of their everyday lives and rituals.
This exhibition is his first major retrospective in Italy where a new project, Float (2004), is also premiered. This work was conceived specifically for the Castello and inspired by the narratives and images that are traditionally associated with processions, celebrations and rituals. An actual float, modelled on the exhibition space, “carries” the site to the museum, welcomes visitors and introduces his retrospective in the galleries. The airy white float, installed in galleries 34 and 35, was inflated and carried up the hill to the castle by a group of people, where it now rests in the galleries as a softer, more fragile museum architecture.
In gallery 36 four films by the artist are simultaneously projected following a new installation and presentation layout which operates like a metaphor for remembering. Blanche-Neige Lucie
(1997) is a documentary film about Lucie Dolène, who in the 1960s dubbed the voice of Snow White into French for the famous animated movie, and later sued the Disney Corporation in order to regain rights over her voice and receive royalties from the distribution of a new version of the movie in the 1990s. In this tender, melancholy piece, Huyghe celebrates a worker in the entertainment industry, by showing how her personal subjectivity overlaps with that of the fictional character. Les Grands ensembles (1994-2001) is a live-action film of a model of two high-rise buildings that enter into a playful yet eerie dialogue of lights and sounds. They recall the architecture in the urban areas characterized by large, anonymous block buildings that mark the failure of twentieth-century utopias. These are ghosts of buildings diverted from their existence as public-housing projects to become characters in a story of constantly changing weather and light.
In 1999, Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno bought the rights to a manga character from a company. This sign, diverted from the entertainment industry, was called Annlee and became the origin of the collaborative projects No Ghost Just a Shell (1999-2003), a multi-authored fable by a number of different artists. In the first episode by Huyghe, Two Minutes Out of Time (2000), a female voice addresses the viewer and speaks about her real condition of ‘signhood’. Annlee’s seductive and disquieting voice returns again in Huyghe’s second episode, One Million Kingdoms (2001). This time she is a character eternally walking in a moonscape. The audio frequencies of her voice are translated into a visual diagram that resembles peaks and mountains, emerging continuously during her journey.
Sleeptalking (1998) and 06.00 pm (2000) are shown in gallery 37. In Sleeptalking, a three minute loop of poet John Giorno’s face as portrayed by Andy Warhol in his first film Sleep (1963) morphs into a contemporary view of Giorno lying in the same position, but having aged by forty years. This oneiric vision is accompanied by a soundtrack of Giorno’s voice describing the dream of the 1960s and the experience of making Sleep with Warhol.
L’Expédition scintillante. A Musical. Act 2 (2002) in gallery 38 is one of Huyghe’s most enigmatic artworks. Beams of pink, purple and orange lights dance to music in this work that eludes analysis. It is both material (a large light and sound box) and immaterial (a hazy colored stage for a concert that never truly occurs if not in the mind.) Like the other works in exhibition, it is a ghostly, in-between entity with a soothing, phantasmagoric quality.
Additional funding for the exhibition was provided by AFAA Association Française d’Action Artistique – Ministère des Affaires Étrangères