Shauna Laurel Jones:
Pierre Huyghe at the Reykjavik Art Museum
In connection with the French cultural festival in Reykjavík this month, internationally-renowned multimedia/installation artist Pierre Huyghe was invited by the Reykjavík Art Museum to create an engaging exhibition in Hafnarhusid. The exhibition, LIVE—SHOW AS EXHIBITION, opened to the public on 23 February along with a number of musical performances in the museum, and drew an impressive crowd. Huyghe’s installation will remain on display until 29 April, 2007.
Huyghe, born in Paris in 1962 and still living and working there, graduated in 1985 with a degree in visual art at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. With exhibitions in many of the world’s leading museums, including the Tate Modern in London (2006), the Moderna in Stockholm (2005), and the Guggenheim and The Dia Center for the Arts in New York (2003)—as well as representing France at the Venice Biennale in 2001—has garnered increasing international recognition for his installation in both museums and public spaces.
The title of Pierre Huyghe’s exhibition at The Reykjavik Art Museum, LIVE – SHOW AS EXHIBITION, suggests how visitors may experience the art and video in a direct and unmediated way, like a performance of live music. The title also invites comparison between experiencing a staged production and experiencing the quietude associated with visits to conventional art exhibitions. With three major installations in three galleries, in which Huyghe’s selected works from the Reykjavik Art Museum’s collection are displayed, his installations come to life through time-activated lighting of his own design and the projection of several of his films. The films shown in the three galleries are as follows:
THIS IS NOT A TIME FOR DREAMING (2004, 24 minutes)
This work was originally created in conjunction with Harvard University in 2004. Huyghe was commissioned to create a work involving the Carpenter Center, designed by Le Corbusier, which houses Harvard’s Fine Arts Department; Huyghe staged and filmed a puppet show in the building. The puppet show details, in song and play, Le Corbusier’s struggle to complete the building and Huyghe’s similar experience in fulfilling his commission for the school. The architect’s and artist’s experiences, along with the building itself, form the basis of a dream-like film from the borderlands of imagination and reality.
(Text by Liam Gillick; narration by James Ackerman; soundtrack excerpted from works by Edgard Varèse and Iannis Xenakis. Also includes excerpts from the song Le temps des cerises, lyrics by Jean Baptiste Clément, interpreted by Charles Trenet.)
A JOURNEY THAT WASN’T (2006, 24 minutes)
In this work, a convergence of reality, report, and fantastical staging is captured on film. Part of the movie was filmed in part on a journey to the Antarctic, which Pierre Huyghe undertook to search for a lone mythological beast. The beast is purported to live on an island, hitherto unexplored, which has emerged from under the ice cap because of global warming. The remainder of the picture was filmed in New York’s Central Park, where Huyghe staged a reenactment of the trip.
STREAMSIDE DAY (2003, 26 minutes)
This film was made at a festival over which the artist presided in a new residential development in New York State. The festival was intended to celebrate the birth of this new community and thereafter to become an annual event in the life of the community’s inhabitants. Huyghe creates an event full of entertainment and ritual which bodes to become a force in the annual town celebrations.
LIVE – SHOW AS EXHIBITION manifests an atmosphere of freedom, celebration, and active participation. The movies reflect Huyghe’s interest in custom, narrative, fiction, and the image of truth presented in documentary films. The ideas in play here are orchestrated to create an atmosphere of challenge, in which questions of the moment can be freely and openly engaged.
LIST Icelandic Art News. Page last updated 28 February 2007. Texts and images copyright © by the authors. For inquiries and contact information see about us.