Pierre Huyghe

Pierre Huyghe

Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art

April 16, 2004

Pierre Huyghe
21 April – 18 July 2004

CASTELLO DI RIVOLI Museo d’Arte Contemporanea
Piazza Mafalda di Savoia 10098 Rivoli (Torino)
tel. 011.9565222/280 fax 011.9565231


Press preview Monday, April 19, 2004, 11:30 a.m.

Curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev

Image: Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno A Smile Without a Cat , 2002
Celebration of Annlees vanishing, Fireworks
Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York – Paris

This exhibition of works by French artist Pierre Huyghe (1962) at the Castello di Rivoli constitutes one of his most ambitious projects thus far, and it is his first retrospective in an Italian museum. Curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Float (2004) is a new installation project 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 other works which unfold in the galleries of the third floor of the 18th-century castle. A selection of the artist’s most emblematic works will be presented within this new organic ‘device’.

Since the early Nineties Huyghe has been known particularly for his installations and films, as well as for collaborative projects with other artists. His works create situations of instability and aperture investigating the relationship between reality and “fiction,” collective memory, and narrative structures. For Huyghe, fiction can generate realities.

Huyghe has participated in numerous group exhibitions, such as Manifesta 2 in Luxembourg (1998); Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Pierre Huyghe, Philippe Parreno at ARC Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris (1998); Cinema, Cinema, Contemporary Art and the Cinematic Experience at the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (1999); the Carnegie International 1999/2000, The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Animations, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, A MoMA Affiliate, Long Island City – New York (2001). In 2001 he was also invited to participate in the group show Form Follows Fiction at Castello di Rivoli, where he showed The Third Memory (1999). Using as a point of departure the true story of a bank robbery and the images that inspired the film “Dog Day Afternoon,” he created a complex experience between reality and fiction that is typical of contemporary life. In 2002 he participated in Documenta XI in Kassel and No Ghost Just A Shell, Kusthalle Zurich, Zurich.

Pierre Huyghe was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the 2001 Venice Biennale. On this occasion, he transformed the French pavilion into a contemporary tale where, according to the artist, “every element has a unique tempo, while the work as a whole (where a program stages the space) functions as if following a musical score.”
Additional funding for the exhibition was provided by AFAA Association Francaise d’Action Artistique – Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres
For information
Press Office, tel. +39/011.9565209-211, fax +39/011.9565231, e-mail: press@castellodirivoli.org


The Exhibition
This is Pierre Huyghe’s first solo exhibition in an Italian museum. Filling a 1000 square meter space on the third floor of Castello di Rivoli, the artist will present a new project created specifically for this occasion. The exhibition, which takes the form of an installation conceived by the artist, will depart from the usual canons to present a single large container for a voyage wherein viewers will discover a selection of his most significant pieces. The new exhibition container will set up a relationship between the “white cube” of the Museum and various events that are external to it.

The works in the exhibition include Blanche-Neige Lucie (1997), L’expedition scintillante, Act 2 (2003), and One Million Kingdoms (2001), and part of the project No Ghost Just A Shell. Through the installation/staging, the artist intends to “animate” Castello di Rivoli’s 17th-18th century architecture with elements that recreate an atmosphere between reality and fiction that is typical of his work.

Huyghe’s terms of reference are “Gothic” and science-fiction literature and filmography, as well as amusements parks, animated films, origami, and the “pop-up” books that populated his childhood imagination. According to Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, curator of the exhibition, “the installation tends to superimpose two rhythms and two time-frames, one that pertains to a transversal space and one pertaining to time that passes. Thus two temporal realities will confront each other, not through the staging of a visual fantasy, but by virtue of the structural rhythm itself that is inherent to the narration.”
Blanche-Neige Lucie (1997) is a documentary about Lucie Dolene, the memorable French dubber of Disney’s Snow White, who sued Disney to regain possession of the copyright to her own voice. In the video we hear her sing the song of Prince Charming while subtitles recount the story of the famous lawsuit. The work is meant to be a reflection on how the entertainment industry appropriates the specificity of individuals, depriving them of their own right to identity.

In the installation L’expedition scintillante, Act 2 (2003), Pierre Huyghe creates a model of a concert stage where beams of light dance. A mist marks their passage and creates a sense of expectation in the viewer, evoked by an empty stage oriented toward a musical “elsewhere.” No Ghost Just A Shell (2000-2003), a project worked on by 16 artists, has AnnLee as its protagonist. AnnLee is an “avatar,” a virtual character originally conceived for video games. Created in Japan for the manga film industry, she had been conceived as a minor character, with a not very well defined personality, intended for a brief life span. In 1999 Huyghe and Parreno purchased the rights to the character, gave her a name, and began working on No Ghost Just A Shell, with the goal of providing the AnnLee “entity” with stories and ideas, giving her an identity and her own life. Huyghe and Parreno wanted to produce an animated film and offered the character to other artists. The agreement with all other participants in the project called for the use of the character in their own work, while they contributed to the writing of the story.

In One Million Kingdoms (2001), a voice marks the unexplored lunar surface. The protagonist is again AnnLee. In this video a sort of vocal map of unexplored lunar regions is described through the electronically modified voice of astronaut Neil Armstrong at the moment of the first moon landing. The historic declaration is interposed with by quotes taken from the novel Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. Armstrong’s words literally design the path of the animated character, in a floating landscape of mountains and craters.
The Artist
Pierre Huyghe, born in Paris in 1962, is one of the most well known young figures in the international art scene. His reputation is tied in particular to the environments, films, collaborative projects, and events that he began creating in the Nineties, dealing with issues tied to the experience of time in contemporary society. His work, sometimes inspired by cinema, presents the processes of construction of personal and collective memory, where fiction and realty intermingle.

Since 1994, Pierre Huyghe’s video installations have been included in major international exhibitions. These have included the Biennial of Contemporary Art in Lyon in 1995 and, that same year, Shift, at the De Appel Foundation in Amsterdam. In 1996 he participated in Traffic at the Capc Musee d’Art Contemporain in Bordeaux. In 1997 he participated in Trade Routes: History and Geography at the Johannesburg Biennial and in Coincidences at the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art in Paris. In 1998 Huyghe exhibited at the Sydney Biennial and at Manifesta 2, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art in Luxembourg. The following year his work was included in Premises at the Guggenheim Museum Soho in New York and in Cinema, Cinema Contemporary Art and the Cinematic Experience at the Stedelijk Van Abbenmuseum in Eindhoven. In 2000 he exhibited at Let’s Entertain at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and at the Centre Pompidou in Paris; the following year he was invited to participate in the large group show Form Follows Fiction at Castello di Rivoli.

In 2001 Huyghe represented France at the Venice Biennale, where he was awarded the Special Jury Prize. On this occasion he transformed the pavilion into a contemporary narration where “every single element,” according to the artist, “is developed as an independent time, while the whole – through a program that rhythmically measures the staged space – behaves as if it is within a musical score.” In 2002 he exhibited at the 1999/2000 Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and at Documenta XI in Kassel. That same year Huyghe won the prestigious Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

The artist’s solo exhibitions include shows at Le Consortium, Dijon, 1997; Weiner Secession, Vienna, 1999; Museo Serralves, Porto, 1999; Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2000; Renaissance Society, Chicago, 2000; Stedelijk Van Abbenmuseum, Eindhoven, 2001; Kunsthaus, Bregenz, 2002; and DIA Center for the Arts, New York, 2003. Pierre Huyghe plans his solo exhibitions as segmented projects, true spaces of continuous experimentation, where art encounters architecture and performance. The artist creates installations that, through unusual perceptual strategies, generate a sense of loss and instability in the viewer. Huyghe often collaborates with other artists to create collective projects, one of the most ambitious of these being No Ghost Just A Shell (2000-2003). In 1999, working in collaboration with Philippe Parreno, Huyghe purchased the rights to a manga character from a Japanese animation company. The character, AnnLee, was reborn, not only in the work of Huyghe and Parreno, in the form of 3-D video animation, but also in the work of other artists, including Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Liam Gillick, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Pierre Joseph/Mehdi Belhaj-Kacem.

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Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art
April 16, 2004

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