Philippe Parreno, one of the most original figures of the international art world, has transformed the Palais de Tokyo
into an artwork in its own right.
Manipulating symbols, words and sounds to achieve changes in perception, the building of the Palais de Tokyo becomes a living, constantly evolving organism, whose architecture Parreno has physically altered both permanently and temporarily.
The use of visual and sonic effects guide the visitor through the space. At the core of the exhibition is Parreno's poetic use of Stravinskys famous Petrushka, which divides his exhibition into different movements, into different scenes. Each of the movements that constitute Stravinskys extraordinary work, performed here by Mikhail Rudy, announce an event in the exhibition. The entire exhibition is thus orchestrated and punctuated by the ghost, the spirit of Petrushka, a puppet who turns the exhibition into an automaton.
Movements from Petrushka act as the soundtrack to the path that Parreno proposes to visitors, through works, old and new. They can encounter the ghost of Marilyn Monroe; see live images of a black garden in Portugal (C.H.Z.); hear the ghostly footsteps of dancers from the Merce Cunningham Dance Company; witness black snow fall as a piano plays of its own accord (by Liam Gillick); meet the character Annlee incarnated as a real little girl who poses questions to the audience (a work by Tino Sehgal as part of Parreno and Pierre Huyghe's No Ghost Just a Shell series); walk along a street lit by flashing marquees; watch Zinedine Zidane from seventeen different vantage points on seventeen different screens in a feature length film co-directed with Douglas Gordon; and discover a secret passageway in Dominique Gonzalez-Foersters Bibliotheque Clandestine leading into a room of drawings by John Cage and Merce Cunningham, a reenactment of the 2002 exhibition No Fixed Point. Parreno recasts the building, an operation he expertly orchestrates in collaboration with set designer Randall Peacock and sound designer Nicolas Becker.
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. Taking the exhibition as a medium, Parreno has redefined the exhibition experience by exploring its possibilities as a coherent object. This exhibition - and its unprecedented format - celebrates an artist whose works, ideas, and approach have incontrovertibly reshaped our idea of art.
Palais de Tokyo is one of the few existing spaces in which an experience of these epic proportions can occur. Parreno is the first artist in its history to take over the entire extended space of Palais de Tokyo.
Philippe Parreno lives and works in Paris.