Streamside Day, 2003
This is the first exhibition in Ireland of a new film work by the French artist Pierre Huyghe. "Streamside Day" is a 26-minute film in which the artist explores the relationship between the past, the present and the future and uses this device to address issues associated with reality and fiction, and individual and collective identity. The film dates from 2003, when it was commissioned by the DIA Center for the Arts in New York.
"Streamside Day" opens in an idyllic rural landscape, where we see a deer and its fawn among green pastures. These images slowly dissolve into a Disneyesque scenario, with the fawn being seen in poses reminiscent of Disney's Bambi. As we trace the fawn's growth, in parallel we follow a family migrating to their new home - an urban housing development, hypothetically in the Hudson Valley, which will eventually supplant this natural environment. Describing the background to the project, Huyghe says, "We are in the year 01, the beginning of a story you are already apart of. Between the mountains and the bank of the Hudson River, a village is forming in the forest. Families are moving in, construction of streets and houses is almost complete, gardens are growing and soon the playgrounds will be filled".
The action builds up towards a central event - the "Streamside Day" neighbourhood festival, complete with a speech by the mayor, fireworks, children dressed as animals and the obligatory band. Huyghe then intercuts these images with further shots of the deer, now wandering the suburban roads. Further references - to 19th-century utopian social projects, Hollywood films and romantic landscape painting - are also intertwined in the narrative.
"Streamside Day" carries forward a recurring motif in Huyghe's work, in which, rather than denigrating suburbia as a place of alienation and homogenisation, he seeks to celebrate man's desire to settle on the edge of nature. The film also the product of the artist's interest in the place of folklore and tradition in contemporary society and his fascination with communal rituals as an agent of change, growth and the evolution of society.
Born in Paris in 1962, Pierre Huyghe has gained particular international prominence since the mid-1990s, with works ranging across architecture, magazines, billboards, television, cinema and museum exhibitions. Since 1995 he has had solo shows in more than 30 galleries throughout Europe and America, including, in 2003, at the Guggenheim in New York. He was awarded a DAAD artist's residency in Berlin in 1999 and in 2001 received the Special Prize of the Jury at the Venice Biennale.
The exhibition is curated by Rachael Thomas, Senior Curator: Head of Exhibitions at IMMA. An exhibition guide, with an essay by Rachael Thomas, accompanies the exhibition.
Exhibition: 23 February - 15 May 2005
Hours: Tue-Sat 10 am - 5.30 pm, Sun 12 - 5.30 pm
Irish Museum of Modern Art
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