Philippe Parreno : Synchronicity, 2017
About The Exhibition
The Rockbund Art Museum presents a major solo exhibition by French artist, Philippe Parreno, his first in China. This exhibition is dedicated to the late Xavier Douroux whose influence on Parreno’s career cannot be overstated.
Curated by the Director of the museum, Larys Frogier, Parreno’s first exhibition in China unfolds onthe museum’s six floors, also extending to its seventh floor glass rooftop.
Over the past twenty years, Parreno has radically redefined the exhibition going experience by exploring its possibilities as a medium in its own right. Realized in dialogue with the physicality and functionality of the museum’s architecture, the exhibition will alter the building’s current existence through an unexpected use of time, space, light, and sound to become a semi automated puppet, a perpetual motion of events in which Parreno subverts the conventions of the gallery space.
Curator of the exhibition, Larys Frogier, states: “Parreno invites visitors to engage with contradictory notions of the physical, emotional, and conceptual. He blurs the distinction between reality and fiction to create an all-encompassing world of endless possibilities”.
Working with light, shadow, and time duration, Parreno engages visitors through a constantly evolving space. The artist covers various windows of the renovated Art Deco building with blinds that will act as eyelids to the building, opening and closing in different locations, and to variable time sequences – each gallery space shifts from darkness to twilight, and then to full light. Some blinds are activated using motors, but for the very first time the artist works with ‘dalang’ performers to operate the remainder. A ‘dalang’ refers to the puppeteer in an Indonesian Wayang performance; traditionally controlling the white screen and lighting that together create the shadow puppets that make up the performance.
On the museum’s glass rooftop, Parreno installed a heliostat that redirects sunlight into the fourth floor ground in a carefully choreographed ensemble of natural light that dances in sync with the movement of the blinds.
For the new rendition of Parreno’s animated film Anywhere Out Of the World, the 2D manga heroine who featured in the opening series of the artist’s 1999 collaborative project, No Ghost Just A Shell, is re-appearing in stereoscopic 3D, with new narration.
An illuminated glass marquee placed at the 3rd floor of the exhibition is playing a tune that resonates throughout the entire building. From the appearance of a film to the disappearance of an image, to a song sung by the dalangs: Parreno will choreograph the Rockbund Art Museum.
About the artist
A key artist of his generation, Philippe Parreno radically redefined the exhibition experience by taking it as a medium, placing its construction at the heart of his process. Working in a diverse range of media including film, sculpture, drawing, and text, Parreno conceives his exhibitions as a scripted space where a series of events unfold. He seeks to transform the exhibition visit into a singular experience that plays with spatial and temporal boundaries and the sensory experience of the visitor, who is guided through the space by the orchestration of sound and image.
For the artist, the exhibition is less a total work of art than a necessary interdependence that offers an ongoing series of open possibilities. Based in Paris, France, Parreno has exhibited and published internationally. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Grenoble from 1983 – 1988 and at the Institut des Hautes Etudes en arts plastiques at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris from 1988 -1989.
Parreno was awarded the prestigious 2016 Hyundai Commission at Tate Modern Turbine Hall, titled Anywhen the commission received international acclaim. Parreno was also the first artist to take over the entire 22,000 square metre gallery space at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris with his exhibition Anywhere, Anywhere Out of the World which opened in October 2013. Major exhibitions of Parreno’s work include: Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto (2017); ACMI, Melbourne (2016/17); Hangar Bicocca, Milan (2015), Park Avenue Armory, New York (2015), CAC Malaga (2014), The Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2013); Barbican Art Gallery, London (2013); Fondation Beyeler (2012); Philadelphia Museum of Art (2012); The Serpentine Gallery, London (2010); Witte de With (2010); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2009); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2009); Kunsthalle Zurich (2009); CCA Kitakyoshu, Japan (2006); Kunsthalle Zürich (2006); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2003); Musée D’Art Moderne de le Ville de Paris (2002), and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2001).
Curated by Larys Frogier
Organised by Rockbund Art Museum
Supported by Rockbund, French Consulate-General Shanghai, Croisements festival
Contributed by Mr. and Mrs. C. K. Cheung, Honorary Partons of RAM