Philippe Parreno

A key artist of his generation, Philippe Parreno has radically redefined the exhibition experience by taking it as a medium, placing its construction at the heart of his process. Working in a diverse range of media including film, sculpture, drawing, and text, Parreno conceives his exhibitions as a scripted space where a series of events unfold. He seeks to transform the exhibition visit into a singular experience that plays with spatial and temporal boundaries and the sensory experience of the visitor. For the artist, the exhibition is less a total work of art than a necessary interdependence that offers an ongoing series of open possibilities.

Parreno was awarded the prestigious 2016 Hyundai Commission at the Tate Modern Turbine Hall in London, titled “Anywhen”, which received international acclaim. In 2013, he became the first artist to occupy the entire 22,000 square metre gallery space at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris with his monumental exhibition “Anywhere, Anywhere Out of the World”. At Cannes in 2006, the artist’s feature film “Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait” co-directed with artist Douglas Gordon premiered out of competition at the 66th film festival.

Time is of great importance to Parreno. His 2015 exhibition, “H{N)Y P N(Y} OSIS”, at the Park Avenue Armory’s Wade Thompson Drill Hall, New York was a precisely choreographed sequence of light, sound, projection, performances and recitals. Often described as “immersive”, Parreno’s exhibitions introduce each precise element (a light sculpture, a film, a piece of music) that enforce the durational aspect of the exhibition asking the viewer to slow down, at times to sit down, and concentrate on each particular work, ultimately bringing each individual element into relation with another.

In his 2013 exhibition “Anywhere, Anywhere Out of the World”, where he was given carte blanche to radically transform the entire monumental space of Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Parreno orchestrated the exhibition along the lines of a dramatic composition where the spectral presence of objects, music, lights, and films guide and manipulated the visitor’s experience, offering a journey through his works, both old and new, transforming this monologue into a polyphony. Parreno turned the building itself into a living constantly evolving organism.

In “Dancing around the Bride” (2012) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art curated by Carlos Basualdo in collaboration with Erica F. Battle, Parreno acted as a metteur en scène (orchestrator), activating the role of time and motion around the artworks of John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Jasper Johns and Marcel Duchamp. At his eponymous 2010 exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, spectators moved in groups from room to room following a soundtrack. Sound was again a key element in the 2013 exhibition, “The Bride and the Bachelors”, at the Barbican, London. The varied sequence of Parreno’s subtle orchestration of live and pre-recorded sound around the works of Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg and Duchamp was arranged in concert with live dance performances, enabling the exhibition to change over time.

Collaboration is integral to Parreno’s work. In June 2006, Universal released a feature- length documentary, directed by Parreno and Scottish artist Douglas Gordon, entitled “Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait”, which premiered out of competition at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Using 17 cameras, this unique football film follows legendary French midfielder Zinedine Zidane throughout an entire Real Madrid vs Villarreal match in front of 80,000 fans at the Santiago Bernabeau stadium. In 2007 Parreno directed and co-curated with Hans Ulrich Obrist a group exhibition, “Il Tempo del Postino” (Postman Time) for the Manchester International Festival, which then showed at Art Basel, 2009. Organised by Fondation Beyeler and Theater Basel, it was devised as a group exhibition that would occupy time rather than space with the artists involved presenting a sequential display of time-based art on the theatre stage. By focusing on time-based work, this unique group show aimed to redefine how the visual arts can be experienced. In 2012, Parreno collaborated with artist Liam Gillick on “To the Moon via the Beach”. Shown at The Amphitheatre in Arles, this was a piece concerning work, production, and change, with the title reflecting its shifting nature and the promise of a journey. On entering the exhibition, visitors encountered an area covered in tons of sand. Over four days, this ‘beach’ area was transformed by sand sculptors into a moonscape, which formed a constantly changing backdrop to a series of 22 artists’ projects. The whole process was made visible with equal importance placed upon the production, presentation, and exchange of ideas.

In 2014 Parreno was involved in a unique collaboration with a number of artists and curators, including Tino Sehgal, Gillick, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Asad Raza, and Pierre Boulez, for which he was also a curator. The exhibition, “Solaris Chronicles” at the LUMA Arles Campus, was presented in two phases and examined, through a series of artistic interventions and projects, the creative vision of architect Frank Gehry. Centred on large-scale models of many of Gehry’s seminal works, the constantly shifting mise-en- scène created by the artists formed a bridge between art and architecture, transforming the usual relationship and collaborative processes between the two practices.

Based in Paris, France, Parreno has exhibited and published internationally. He studied at the École supérieure d'Art de Grenoble from 1983 until 1988 and at the Institut des hautes études en arts plastiques at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris from 1988 until 1989.

Parreno has presented solo exhibitions at Jumex, Mexico City (2017); The Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai (2017); Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto (2017); ACMI, Melbourne (2016/17); HangarBicocca, Milan (2015/2016), Park Avenue Armory, New York (2015); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2014/2013); CAC Malaga (2014); Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2013); Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel (2012); Serpentine Gallery, London (2010-2011); Centre for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York (2009–10); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2009–10); Kunsthalle Zürich (2009) and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2009). Parreno’s work is represented in numerous major museum collections, including Tate, London; MoMA, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Kanazawa Museum of the 21st Century, Japan; Musée d’art modern de la Ville de Paris, Paris; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. His work was also presented at the Venice Biennale (1993, 1995, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2015, and 2017), Venice Biennale of Architecture (2014), Lyon Biennale (1997, 2003, and 2005), and Istanbul Biannual (2001).

As of May 2018

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