Pierre Huyghe | IN BORDER DEEP
Hauser & Wirth is excited to announce Pierre Huyghe’s inaugural exhibition with the gallery.Huyghe works across media to create situations, cutting through time and boundaries,highlighting concepts of separation. ‘IN. BORDER. DEEP’ features all new work including film,site-specific sculpture, and a series of aquariums. Viewed as a whole, the exhibition revealsa chronology which spans 30 million years until the present day.The starting point in the exhibition’s overarching chronology is a film in which Huyghe uses macro-and micro-scopic cameras to record insects encased in amber. It is a navigation through stone,in search of the earliest known specimen caught mid-copulation 30 millions years ago. The audioof Huyghe’s motion control camera whirring has been retained and heightened, a soundtrack thatrecalls the sensation of a mechanical shuttle. In these consecutive frames Huyghe explores aninstant frozen in time.A primitive stone tool lies in sedimentation on the gallery floor, marking the origin of man and thedevelopment of rudimentary engineering. For the site-specific work ‘The Clearing’, situated on thegallery’s far wall, Huyghe has mechanically sanded down layers of paint from the wall’s surfaceto reveal expanses of colour that had previously been covered over. Huyghe’s interest extendsbeyond the line and colour created by ‘The Clearing’ and into the geological formation of the wall;the limestone in the resulting deposit refers back to the particles that emerge from human remains.Huyghe explores the wall as a living artefact, and highlights the perpetual transformation of thegallery as a sphere.
Three aquariums placed in the gallery contain biotopes transplanted from Monet’s ponds in Giverny,the geo-engineered site begun in 1893 and the subject matter of his ‘Nymphéas’ paintings. Thewater lilies floating on the surface of Huyghe’s ponds can be viewed constantly. The sides of theaquariums are encased in switchable glass that conceals their contents, then randomly exposesthe living organisms that lie under the surface of the painted subject. Unlike Huyghe’s previousaquariums, the focus of these pieces is the sunken man-made objects that have been modifiedover time by natural elements. The lighting sequence for the aquariums is programmed accordingto a fast-paced rendering of the variations in weather conditions as recorded at Giverny between1914 and 1918, when Monet painted the ‘Nymphéas’, now situated in the Musée de l’Orangerie.The sequence for each aquarium spans a specific, symbolic length of time: the shortest day of theyear in 1914, the autumn of 1917 and the entire four-year period.Upon entering the gallery space, the viewer encounters a reclining figure, a concrete cast of partof a monument originally created for an exhibition in 1931. In its current state, the sculpture isheadless and overgrown with moss. It contains an internal heating device that roughly mirrors thehuman circulatory system, encouraging the growth of vegetation. The viewer is able to sense abody temperature emanating from the sculpture’s surface.The ‘Human Mask’ film is inspired by a real situation in Japan, in which a monkey – wearing themask of a young woman – has been trained to work as a waitress. The film opens with footage ofthe deserted site of Fukushima in 2011, the camera functioning as a drone scaling the wreckage.This is followed by scenes of the monkey alone in her habitat, silhouetted against the empty, darkrestaurant. In this dystopian setting, an animal acts out the human condition, trapped, endlesslyrepeating her unconscious role. <HAUSER & WIRTH>
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