For his second solo exhibition at Friedrich Petzel Gallery, Philippe Parreno is taking the exhibition "Alien Seasons" that first opened at the Museé d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris last May and bringing it to New York. Just as music or theater is repeated and reinterpreted, Philippe is making this exhibitionagain in order to play with it and give it new shape.
Inside the seemingly haunted gallery, lights fade in and out, images appear and disappear on the walls and silence pervades except for a brief classical score that intervenes from time to time. What might seem to be flashing headlights are actually labels, identifying title, date, and medium of each work in the exhibition. They were designed by M/M Paris, a team of graphic designers with whom Parreno has collaborated on numerous projects.
Robert Rauschenberg's 7 panel White Series Painting is exhibited alone in the main space. It is visible for 4 minute and 33 seconds, the time given by John Cage for reading the painting. El Sueño de una Cosa (The Dream of a Thing), a film that Parreno shot on a small island above the Arctic Circle, is projected directly on top of the painting to the music of Edgar Varèse. Previously shown in between commercials in a Swedish cinema, this film is a game that produces new stories each time it is shown. It functions as an interlude between two things, just as a dream finds itself between sleep and waking.
A series of giant glow-in-the-dark posters can be found in the back room. They gradually lose their luminosity and fade to black, at which point the lights turn on in order to recharge the phosphorescent ink. These vanishing images describe events organized by Parreno that have taken place in the past. In one instance, at a Japanese theme park, humans dressed-up as cartoon characters pantomimed a universe without time. In another, a truck drove through Kitakyuchu broadcasting post-apocalyptic soliloquies.
The subject of his latest film is the Giant Cuttlefish. This particularly odd-looking fish emerges every time an element of the exhibition is set/launched into motion. A native to the South Pacific, the Giant Cuttlefish has a special image-generating lobe in its brain that can actually project what it is imagining on the surface of its body. These remarkably intelligent animals have evolved to use a language of animation in order to communicate with one another. One might say that they are the closest things we humans can compare to aliens.
April 26 - May 31, 2003
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 10am - 6pm and by appointment.
Friedrich Petzel Gallery
535 West 22nd Street
USA-New York 10011, NY
Telephone +1 212 680 94 67
Fax +1 212 680 94 73