Pierre Huyghe

November 18, 2009 at 7:37 pm (Uncategorized)

Pierre Huyghe’s Excellence

Pierre Huyghe, born in Paris in 1962, is one of the most well known young figures in the international art scene. His reputation reflects the environments, films, collaborative projects, and events that he began creating in the Nineties. They usually deal with issues tied to the experience of time in contemporary society. His work, sometimes is inspired by cinema, portrays the processes of construction of personal and collective memory, where fiction and realty intermingle. Much of Huyghe’s work examines the structural properties of film and its problematic relationship to reality. His work frequently mixes fact with fiction.” In several projects, he has delved into the personal lives of subjects and actors in films which will later be discussed.

Since the early Nineties Huyghe has been known particularly for his installations and films, as well as for collaborative projects with other artists. “His works create situations of instability and aperture investigating the relationship between reality and ‘fiction,’ collective memory, and narrative structures.” For Huyghe, fiction can generate realities.

Huyghe’s inspirations are “Gothic” and science-fiction literature, amusements parks, animated films, origami, and the “pop-up” books that that he enjoyed in his childhood years.

The sale of cartoon characters created by professional designers are used in comic strips, television shows, and films is a common feature of Japan’s animation industry. Pierre Huyghe and Phillipe Parreno purchased such a cartoon in 1999. The figure of a young girl was used in their own work, thereby giving this ready made character a new life within a specifically fine art context. Annlee’ was considered a cheap model bought for around $500, because she had no personalities, no abilities; it was just a shell with no soul.

No Ghost Just a Shell (Fig 1) project spanned from 1999 to 2002. The plan was to fill the empty ‘entity’ AnnLee with stories and ideas and to give her an identity and a life of her own.

One Million Kingdoms (Fig 2), 2001, is the most recent in a series of animated films. In these scenes AnnLee is put into a lunar landscape that is “mapped out and developed in correspondence with the rises and falls of the narrator’s voice – tinny, at times labored – digitally derived from a recording of Neil Armstrong.” The stories of the first moon landing, in 1969, and of Jules Verne’s 1864 novel Journey to the Center of the Earth have been inserted here in a conspiracy theory of the faked and the fantastic. Neil Armstrong’s first words (It’s a lie) is what starts AnnLee, moving from place to place on a constantly fluctuating terrain. Mountains, craters, ridges, and outcroppings rise and fall according to the intonations of the narrator’s voice. “His words blur the fictional and factual, using language that derives from distinct genres and centuries—Verne’s work of fiction and Armstrong’s and Buzz Aldrin’s presumably true transmissions of their experience during the landing of Apollo 11’s lunar module.”

The landscape of AnnLee is a shifting terrain determined by voices, which reflect both the real and the imaginary.

Looking at an art work that deals with someone’s personal life, Blanche-Neige Lucie (Fig 3) created in 1997 is very interesting. This is a documentary about Lucie Dolene, the memorable French dubber of Disney’s Snow White, who sued Disney to regain possession of the copyright to her own voice. In the video we hear her sing the song of Prince Charming while subtitles replay the story of the famous lawsuit. The work is meant to be a reflection on how the entertainment industry appropriates the individuality of a single person, depriving them of their own right to identity.

After looking at a couple of Pierre Hughye’s works, I have to say I really like the concepts he pulls into his work. The idea behind all of his digital art works and installations is quite fascinating. The images themselves is another story on the other hand.

I personally am one for bright bold colors; something that will grab your attention from far away. His work does not accomplish that in my books. A person needs to be aware that he likes to merge fiction with reality, possibly generating a new life as he did with AnnLee. Fiction and reality intermingle in Pierre Huyghes work.

No ghost just a shell, 1999-2002


Pierre Huyghe, One Million Kingdoms, 2001

Blanche-Neige Lucie (1997)

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