HangarBicocca, the contemporary art space wholly supported by Pirelli, presents, from 22 October 2015 to 14 February 2016, Hypothesis the first survey exhibition in Italy of French artist Philippe Parreno. The show, curated by Andrea Lissoni, will be inhabited by a series of key pieces together with recent works and music that will radically transform the perception of the industrial space of HangarBicocca.
Over the last twenty years Parreno has redefined the experience of the exhibition exploring the possibilities beyond the presentation of single artworks. He conceives his exhibitions as choreographed spaces that follow a script where a series of events unfold. Re-launching the tradition of the avant-garde artist engaged with many cultural disciplines, his work attracts large audiences of different backgrounds and interests. His practice – that spans a diversity of media including film, video, sound, writing and drawing – has always explored the borders between reality and its representation utilizing the vocabulary and means typically associated with a variety of media such as radio, television, cinema and, recently, information technology. Parreno also questions the concept of authorship and has worked in collaboration with many highly influential artists, architects or musicians.
Upon entering the “Navate” exhibition space at HangarBicocca, visitors are immediately confronted with the work How Can We Know the Dancer from the Dance, 2013, consisting of a circular stage and a curved white wall that slowly moves along the perimeter of the stage. Sounds of apparently dancing footsteps emanate from the platform creating a ghostly auditory presence; these sounds are of the movements of dancers from the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. At the centre of the stage, Parreno has placed the iconic Jasper Johns piece set elements for “Walkaround Time”, which was created as props part of the set for Merce Cunningham’s dance of the same name in 1968. The work consists of seven inflatable plastic pillows painted with images taken from Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), 1915-1923, and evokes the intensive collaborations taking place in those years among Merce Cunningham, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and John Cage – between dance, performance, art, and music – setting the lineage for Philippe Parreno’s practice.
A central element of the show is Another Day with Another Sun, 2014 (in collaboration with Liam Gillick) a spotlight resembling a luminous planet, slowly navigating across the ceiling, crossing the monumental columns of HangarBicocca’s space and the flickering a street of Marquees, made between 2007 and 2015, projecting long shadows that seem to outgrow the surrounding space. Following different musical compositions for the Marquees: DJ Agoria: Aurora, Thomas Bartlett, Nicolas Becker: Personna, Liam Gillick, Ranjana Leyendecker: vingt minutes, Robert AA Lowe: Untitled, Mirwais: Marilyn Glitch, they will turn on and off producing a soundtrack for the films screened in the “Cubo” or on a LED screen: Anywhere Out of the World, 2000; Alien Seasons, 2002 and With a Rhythmic Instinction to be Able to Travel Beyond Existing Forces of Life, 2014.
The “Cubo” space, in conclusion, is transformed into an environment inhabited by a choreography in which natural light, artificial light and film projections follow each other to conclude the anthology selection of Philippe Parreno’s video and cinema works.
Andrea Lissoni, curator of the exhibition, said: “Hypothesis can be considered an experimental model for a solo show, in which different existing works are recombined for just the duration of the exhibition, becoming a temporary installation, and then getting back their individual lives and status after the show itself has ended. Hypothesis is a hypothesis for a time-based exhibition in which beginning and end are no longer located in the space but dispersed in time, enabling a never ending iridescent experience of the artworks as well as of the venue.”
The work Another Day with Another Sun, 2014 is produced in collaboration with Kvadrat, who holds the leading position in Europe’s high-quality contemporary textiles market, and has contributed with 1000 meters of Stoplight Colour 3 to the exhibition.
Philippe Parreno (born in 1964, he lives and works in Paris) has exhibited in numerous international institutions, his most recent solo shows include: “H(N)Y P N(Y)OSIS” Park Avenue Armory, New York (2015) and could be seen as complementing the show at HangarBicocca; Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2014); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); The Garage Museum for Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2013); Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel (2012); Serpentine Gallery, London (2010); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2009). He featured at the Lyon Biennale (1991, 1997, 2003, 2005) and has participated in the Venice Biennale (1993, 1995, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2015). Parreno has also co-curated numerous exhibitions including “Solaris Chronicles” at the LUMA Foundation, Arles (2014) and “Il Tempo Del Postino” at the Manchester International Festival (2007). Parreno acted as a metteur-en-scène for “Dancing around the Bride” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2012) and then presented at the Barbican Centre in London (2013).
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated book focused on Philippe Parreno’s work of the past five years. It will include an interview with the artist by Andrea Lissoni and Hans Ulrich Obrist and feature essays by art historian and critic Molly Nesbit, film critic Cyril Béghin and the British novelist Adam Thirlwell. Co-produced by HangarBicocca and the Park Avenue Armory, it will thoroughly document the two respective exhibitions and be published by Mousse Publishing in December 2015.