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Philippe Parreno opens first solo Russia exhibition at Garage Center for Contemporary Culture
Philippe Parreno, Marilyn, 2012. Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow, 2013. Photo: Alexander Rusov© Garage Center for Contemporary Culture.

MOSCOW.- Garage Center for Contemporary Culture presents the first solo exhibition in Russia by Philippe Parreno, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist. The artist shows his most recent work, Marilyn (2012) – guiding the visitor through the exhibition space using an orchestration of sounds and images.

For more than twenty years, Parreno has radically redefined the exhibition experience by conceiving his shows as a scripted space where a series of events unfolds. Like the ice skating rink and artificial snow in Gorky Park, Parreno creates an elaborate stage-set for this choreography to take place. Upon entering the exhibition space, visitors encounter an artificial landscape: at opposite ends of the space, snow-drifts are sculpted into symmetrical mounds to form a mirror image. Dominating this stark, white expanse is a large anamorphic screen on which the film Marilyn plays. The visitors produce ‘a form as a crowd’ just as ice skaters produce an ellipse on the ice skating rink.

Marilyn is the portrait of a ghost. The film conjures up Marilyn Monroe through a phantasmagoric séance in a suite at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, where she lived in the 1950s. Here, the image is taken from the point of view of the deceased Marilyn. The film reproduces Marilyn Monroe’s presence by means of three algorithms: the camera becomes her eyes, a computer reconstructs the prosody of her voice and a robot recreates her handwriting. The Hollywood icon is incarnated in an image that is in fact an automaton, something resembling a human, and yet not quite real. When the film is over the lights come on and sounds from Marilyn Monroe’s former suite at the Waldorf Astoria New York hotel are streamed live into the gallery. Then the lights go off and Marilyn begins to play again.

The exhibition emphasizes Parreno’s continued research into the mechanisms of time and space and the manner in which this structures the public’s experience. The visitor is subject to the temporal layout of the exhibition, which unfolds like theatre.

Philippe Parreno rose to prominence in the 1990s, earning critical acclaim for his work, which employs a diversity of media including film, sculpture, performance, drawing and text. Parreno has sought to redefine the exhibition by exploring its possibilities as a coherent experience rather than as a collection of individual objects. He often scripts the exhibition using temporal and spatial sequencing to activate his works while guiding the visitor throughout the space. Currently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the artist serves as “metteur en scène” (orchestrator) of Dancing around the Bride (on view until January 2013), a unique exhibition for which he has choreographed works by Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg and Duchamp.

In June 2006, Universal released a feature-length documentary directed by Parreno and Douglas Gordon entitled Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, which premiered out of competition at the 2006 Cannes film Festival. Since this project, Parreno has worked with internationally acclaimed film and sound crews, including sound artist Nicolas Becker, sound mixer Cyril Holtz, cinematographer Darius Khondji and film editor Hervé Schneid.

His work is represented in the collections of Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Kanazawa Museum of the 21st Century, Japan; The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Modern, London and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

Recently, Parreno has presented solo exhibitions at Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel (2012); Serpentine Gallery, London (2010-11); Centre for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York (2009–10); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2009–10); Kunsthalle Zürich (2009) and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2009). Parreno lives and works in Paris.

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