In Detail: Philippe Parreno’s H {N)Y P N(Y} OSIS - Cinema

In Detail: Philippe Parreno’s H {N)Y P N(Y} OSIS

by Roxana Fabius & Elizabeth Larison, Curatorial Assistants

Film has been a fundamental influence on Parreno’s practice since his time as a student at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Grenoble. This influence is visible both in the collaborative nature of his practice and his use of the exhibition as a time-based medium. Standard cinema/film is a medium that constructs narratives with image and light, while the work unfurls over a period of time.

Throughout his artistic career, Parreno’s practice has expanded upon film’s traditional confines to include the performance of objects in space and time, using the exhibition as an extension of the cinematic medium. H {N)Y P N(Y} OSIS offers a prime example of this, as the filmic evidences itself not merely in the films themselves, but in the movements and actions within the space, and in the very experience of visitors. The ingredients of film are deconstructed in several elements that are not longer relegated to screens. The marquees, for example, while carrying a clear reference to movie theaters, also create musical and visual compositions that bring the exhibition to life.

Specific allusions to fantastical escapes, alternative or imagined worlds, and the glamor and storytelling of cinema appear within the Drill Hall. This holds clear references to the golden age of movie theatres through the marquees, the invocation of Marilyn Monroe in Marilyn (2012), and the role of superheroes in Invisibleboy (2009) and Danny The Street (2015). The illusionary space also draws from phantasmagoric traditions that were introduced to France during the 19th century, which greatly influenced the magical environments of cinema, and which are palpable in Parreno’s practice. As it was in the incipient cinematic illusionary practices of the late 19th century, technology and automation are an essential part of this type of experience, which is extremely orchestrated and choreographed, while it retains the ability to feel organic.

Parreno’s approach to exhibition practices is intimately related to the composition of a film, in its relation to rhythm, duration and quality of the sequences. However, as viewers we are free to elaborate our own narrative based on the elements that are provided to us in the cascading events that compose the exhibition. Once in a while, natural light floods the space and exposes the complexity of wires and suspensions, reminding the public that the illusion is constructed by human hands and minds, no ghosts.

Photo: Andrea Rossetti

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