Pierre Huyghe, Human Mask

Pierre Huyghe, Human Mask

Pierre Huyghe, Human Mask (still), 2014. Courtesy of the artist; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; Hauser & Wirth, London; Esther Schipper, Berlin; and Anna Lena Films, Paris. © Pierre Huyghe

Bar Laika presents
Pierre Huyghe, Human Mask
June 6, 2019, 9pm
Bar Laika by e-flux
224 Greene Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Join us at Bar Laika for a screening of Pierre Huyghe’s Human Mask (2014, 19 minutes).

The film opens with footage of the deserted site of Fukushima, the drone camera scaling the wreckage. This is followed by scenes of a monkey alone in an empty restaurant.
Human Mask is a bachelor rite.
A monkey wearing a mask of a young woman, trained as a servant, an unconscious actor of human labour and a drone, an unmanned camera programmed to perform tasks inhabit the same landscape of Fukushima, just after the natural and technological disaster in 2011.
The monkey, left on its own, executes, like an automaton, the gestures it had been trained to do, in a pointless pattern of repetition and variation. Trapped inside a human representation, the monkey has become its sole mediator. Sometimes enacting the role of a servant, sometimes inoperative, it is endlessly waiting, subject to boredom, left between instruction and instinct. 
Behind the mask, a descendant of a common ancestor; in front of it, a drone, a human extension.

Pierre Huyghe works at the intersection of fiction and reality, creating projects that point up multiple, complex narratives, often within pre-existing cultural events. In a rich body of work that includes installations, films, and sculptures, the Parisian-born Huyghe suggests the ways in which identity and subjective experience are deeply informed by particular historical moments. Huyghe’s investigations into cultural production explore how media representations and social rituals shape contemporary reality.
Huyghe received the Hugo Boss Prize in 2002 and the Special Award of the 49th Venice Bienniale in 2001. He has had solo exhibitions at Moderna Museet, Stockholm; le Magasin, Centre National d’Art Contemporain, Grenoble, France; Dia Center for the Arts, New York; Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands; Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. His works have been shown in exhibitions at venues such as the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Germany; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany; P.S.1 Center for Contemporary Art, New York; Kunstwerke, Berlin; MAMCO, Geneva, Switzerlan; Guggenheim Museum SoHo, New York, and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England. His films and videos have also been screened in festivals such as the Festival de Mexico; Rencontres Internationales d’Arles, France, and the International Film Festival, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. 

For more information, contact laika@e-flux.com.

Film, Technology

Pierre Huyghe (born in 1962, Paris) lives and works in New York. His works often present themselves as situated networks, a continuity between a wide range of intelligent life forms (biological, technological) and matter that learn, modify, and evolve. They are immersive, contingent and constantly changing environments. They are sites of possibility, excess of fiction, indeterminate and indifferent to categories and witnesses. For several years, Huyghe’s works have investigated alternatives to the human perspective in the manner of Untilled (Documenta 13, 2012) and Untitled (Human Mask) (2014). His work has been presented in various exhibitions around the world, and he has received a number of awards, including the Nasher Sculpture Prize (2017); Kurt Schwitters Prize (2015); Roswitha Haftmann Award (2013), the Smithsonian Museum’s Contemporary Artist Award (2010), the Hugo Boss Prize, Guggenheim Museum (2002), the Special Award from the Jury of the Venice Biennale (2001), and a DAAD in Berlin (1999-2000). Most recently, he was appointed Artistic Director of the Okayama Art Summit 2019. His recent exhibitions include After UUmwelt, Luma Foundation, Arles (2021); UUmwelt, Serpentine Gallery, London (2018); and The Roof Garden, Metropolitan Museum, New York (2015). In 2012-2014, a major retrospective of Huyghe’s work travelled from the Centre Pompidou (Paris) to the Ludwig Museum (Germany) and to Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

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