Pierre Huyghe

Cracks in Time, Space and Consciousness

Apart from deftly transmogrifying the Sydney Opera House into an atmospheric, mist-strewn forest in Forest of Lines (2008), Pierre Huyghe’s work hasn’t previously been seen on a comprehensive scale in Australia. With the first major exhibition by the French artist opening in late August at TarraWarra Museum of Modern Art, VAULT took some time to examine his elusive oeuvre.

By Pippa Milne SEP 2015

Common conceptions of reality bend and sway in the work of Pierre Huyghe [pronounced ‘Hweeg’]. In the Centre Pompidou, a dog called Human, sporting an intriguingly conspicuous fluorescent pink leg roams the exhibition space, apparently unchecked and unbothered by the (actual) humans who also wander the space, LED panels shielding their faces. A figure skater turns circles on a black ice rink.

In his work Human Mask (2014), a monkey in a human mask mimics a waitress, or rather, is a waitress in a post-nuclear-disaster Fukushima bar. A hermit crab scuttles about his tank lugging a resin mould of Brancusi’s iconic modernist face in Zoodram 5 (after ‘Sleeping Muse’ by Constantin Brancusi) (2011). A film about an Antarctic adventure seeking an uncharted island and an albino penguin becomes harder and harder to trust as it unfolds. Spiders in the corner of a gallery belong there as artworks, until they leave their allocated position and cease to be thus defined.

In the catalogue for the forthcoming eponymous exhibition at TarraWarra, curators Victoria Lynn and Amelia Barikin note that “[f]iction creates reality, just as reality creates fiction”. These two states – of fiction and reality – nestle together in much of Huyghe’s work, prompting viewers to reassess ideas that might previously have seemed unquestionable. Temporality and the roles of viewer and object seem to both be in a state of rich and mesmerising flux.

In 1999, Huyghe purchased the rights to a manga character with ... Subscribe to read this article in full

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