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Indepth Arts News:

"Pierre Huyghe: Winner of the Hugo Boss Prize 2002"
2003-01-24 until 2003-04-05
Guggenheim Museum
New York, NY, USA

An exhibition of the work of French artist Pierre Huyghe, the winner of the HUGO BOSS PRIZE 2002, will open at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on January 24, 2003. The exhibition will present two works, a film installation Les Grands Ensembles (2001) and a sculpture L'Expédition Scintillante, Act II: Untitled (light show) (2002). The exhibition will be installed in the Tower 2 Annex Gallery through May 4, 2003. This exhibition is sponsored by HUGO BOSS AG.

"We are extremely pleased to present the work of Pierre Huyghe, the 2002 winner of the Hugo Boss Prize," said Thomas Krens, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. "Through his remarkable body of work, which includes film, photography, video, sound, computer animation, sculpture, design, and architecture, Huyghe examines the narrative structures of popular culture and the relationships between fiction and reality, memory and history." "For me, art signifies innovation, creativity, and cosmopolitanism in its true sense," said Bruno Sälzer, Chairman and CEO of Hugo Boss AG. "I am extremely pleased to honor Pierre Huyghe, whose work embodies the spirit of ingenuity that this award seeks." Huyghe has gained international prominence over the past five years for his extraordinary works that explore the convergence of reality and fiction, memory and history, and their relationship to various modes of cultural production. Incorporating a range of media, in his diverse works, the artist intervenes in various familiar narrative structures to investigate the construction of collective and individual identities. The artist is interested in both reading and making possible multiple, subjective reinterpretations of the incidents and images that shape our realities. Through such "re-translations," Huyghe offers a way for his characters and his viewers to retake control of their own image, their own story. For the Guggenheim exhibition, Huyghe presents two works, a film installation Les Grands Ensembles (2001) and a sculpture L'Expédition Scintillante: Act II: Untitled (light show) (2002). Both works address alternative modes of representation and communication. In Les Grands Ensembles a pair of bleak buildings, models based on 1970s French housing projects, enacts a subtle inanimate drama. Enveloped in a snowy fog, the uninhabited scene is both romantic and alienating. "These subsidized public projects ended up being an architectural and social failure," explains Huyghe. "They were a corruption of Le Corbusier's social and architectural Modernist theory." These nondescript structures were conceived as temporary, but have remained, though somewhat invisibly. Huyghe brings the buildings into view and gives them agency. "Without beginning or ending, the two, low-income towers dialogue in a strange Morse code given by the light of their respective windows, a blinking existence," Huyghe continues.

Forming an uncanny dialogue with Les Grands Ensembles, the sculpture installation L'Expédition Scintillante, Act II: Untitled (light show) acts as a giant music box. The sounds of Eric Satie re-orchestrated by Claude Debussy filter through the space as pulsating lights and smoke emanate from the sculpture in the outer gallery. The effect is that of a "psychedelic concert," according to Huyghe. Huyghe recalls, "I remember Dan Graham once said that Rock and Roll was the new religion." The artist gives form to the memory of this type of collective experience while conjuring the strange connections between the realm of the familiar and that of the unknown. Both pieces hint at alternative levels of reality and prompt viewers to question the unseen powers that may control these structures and, in turn, the effects that these environments exert over the people in their midst. At the same time, confronted with what is reminiscent of an empty stage, viewers are invited to project their own stories into the scenario.

Pierre Huyghe was born in 1962 in Paris, where he currently lives and works. The artist graduated form the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, in 1985. His work has been presented in numerous solo exhibitions including shows at the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria (2002); Neu Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2002); Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva (2001); the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Amsterdam (2001); Musée d'Art Contemporain, Montreal (2000-2001); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago (2000); Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark (1999); Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1998).

His work has been represented in notable group exhibitions, including an exhibition featuring Ann Lee at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2003); the museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (2002-2003), and Moving Pictures, on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum through January 12, 2003; No Ghost Just a Shell, Kunsthalle Zürich (2002); Documenta 11, Kassel (2002); Animations, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York (2001); Regarding Beauty: A View of the Late Twentieth Century, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C., and Haus der Kunst, Munich (1999-2000); the Istanbul Biennial (1999); the Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (1999); the Venice Biennale (1999); Premises, Guggenheim Museum SoHo, New York (1998); and the second Johannesburg Biennial (1997). Additionally, Huyghe represented France at the Venice Biennale (2001) and received a special award.

Les Grands Ensembles, 1994–2001.
Vistavision transferred to digital, hard disc, 7:41 (loop).
Music by Pan Sonic and Cédric Pigot (random program).
Edition of 5, 2 Artist's Proofs.
Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and Paris.

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