Pierre Huyghe to Bring Avant Garde Exhibition to LACMA

Just a week after the arrival of the celebrated painting “Greece on the ruins of the Missolonghi” by Eugène Delacroix, the museum will debut the first major retrospective of avant-garde French artist Pierre Huyghe on Nov. 23.

Unlike many other artists who get retrospectives of their work, Pierre Huyghe is alive and relatively young (52).  Born in Paris to an Air Force pilot, Huyghe studied at the prestigious École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs.  He primarily works with media.

Says LACMA, “Huyghe creates films, installations, and events that blur fact and fiction, reinvent rituals of social engagement, and use the exhibition model as a site for playful experimentation.  Organized thematically, the exhibition covers more than two decades of Huyghe’s career, with a focus on cinema as both model and matrix. By filming staged scenarios, Huyghe probes the capacity of art to distort and ultimately shape reality through methods that are filmic, spatial, or social.”

Still not sure what to expect?  If this video from a Huyghe show that was held earlier this year at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany is any indication, there may be bees, fish, and a dog with an inexplicably pink leg involved.  To say the least, this exhibition will veer on the non-traditional side.

“In keeping with the artist’s desire for a non-hierarchical presentation, the exhibition is designed as a single, extraordinary environment, like a park or garden: a public sphere where a visitor can walk, reflect, and take in a variety of attractions through participation, thoughtful immersion, or simply as a passer-by,” explains LACMA.

According to Rirkrit Tiravanija of Interview Magazine, Huyghe’s work is rarely found inside a museum: “In 2005 it was found on Central Park’s Wollman skating rink, in a musical performance inspired by a trip to Antarctica. In 2008, it was found literally growing in the Sydney Opera House for a 24-hour period, when he transformed the concert hall into a mystical, fog-filled arboretum. Last year, Huyghe even took over gardening duties at Madrid’s Crystal Palace for the Reina Sofia, planting a calendar’s worth of flora…”

Huyghe elaborated: “And in all these places I start with a set of conditions. The entities that inhabit them are partly real and partly fictional, partly signs or symbols, but they are still living organisms, whether it be a human, an animal, or a plant. With the garden, I planted for the Reina Sofia, each plant related to different celebrations along the calendar…, just like the fish in the tanks. They grow on their own. the symbolic ecosystem is growing without a narrative anymore. It’s a physical and mental landscape.”

Pierre Huyghe will debut at LACMA Nov. 23, 2014 – Feb 22, 2015  For more information, visit the LACMA’s website.