22 Oct 2015 – 14 Feb 2016
Curated by Andrea Lissoni
“Hypothesis” is Philippe Parent’s first anthological exhibition in Italy, and is conceived as a choreographed space modulated by a series of events.
The exhibition presents several of the artist’s most significant works, recombining them to radically redefine perception of HangarBicocca’s industrial spaces: light, shadow, sound and moving images extend the physical limits of both the works and surrounding architectural elements like columns, immersing visitors in an environment in which spatial dimensions and temporal references cease to be certainties, seeming to participate in a score according to which each is both cause and consequence of something else.
“Hypothesis” is the hypothesis of an exhibition, and in this sense reflects all of Parreno’s investigations: a show at once personal and collaborative, anthological and open, retrospective and perspective, temporary and temporal, the shadow of what came before and undoubtedly the light of what will come next.
Jasper Johns, set elements for “Walkaround Time” (1968)
Situated at the entrance to the exhibition space, areset elements for “Walkaround Time”(1968), a series of props by American artist Jasper Johns made up of seven rectangular, transparent structures on which are reproduced images fromThe Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass)(1915–1923) by Marcel Duchamp, one of the most significant and enigmatic art-works of the 20th century. The elements realized by Johns were designed for the performanceWalkaround Timeheld in 1968 by the avant-garde choreographer Merce Cunningham (1919- 2009), among the first to have worked on the relationship between dance, music and art within staged actions.
Danny the Street (2006-2015)
The installation Danny the Street(named after the character created by Grant Morrison and Brendan McCarthy for DC Comics) is composed of nineteen Marquees(sculptures in Plexiglass, lights and sounds realized between 2006 and 2015), and is an imaginary street that winds its way through the “Navate” in HangarBicocca. Made of different sizes, the Marqueesare suspended at various height. They were inspired by the luminous signs which hung over the entrances to American movie theatres in the 1950s to advertise films. In Parreno’s work the Marquees become indicators that, no longer advertising a cinematographic show, mark the space by introducing the possibility of an event.
Set in a line, the nineteen suspended Marquees light up at intermittent moments and, like musical instruments, follow a score conceived by Parreno with Nicolas Becker together with a number of different artists and musicians, including Agoria, Thomas Bartlett,Liam Gillick, Ranjana Leyendecker, Mirwais, and Robert AA Lowe. Two Disklavier pianos are placed on the door and play a score that determines the timing sequence for the entire exhibition, and appear to play conducted by an invisible presence (the pianist Mikhail Rudy was recorded in New York on the occasion of Parreno’s solo show at Park Avenue Armory in July 2015). As the artist explains, «all of the elements in the exhibition—the videos, music recordings, and marquees—can be controlled from a master keyboard that looks like a piano but conceptually is more like a gamelan, with diverse instruments that can be played together
Another Day with Another Sun (2014)
The installation Another Day with Another Sun(2014), realized in collaboration with the artist Liam Gillick, is suspended on the side opposite the Marquees. The artwork – an artificial light that crosses through the exhibition space thanks to a system of suspended tracks – seems to evoke the passage of the sun from dawn to dusk. Along its path, the light strikes the columns of the “Navate” in HangarBicocca, as well as the Marquees, casting their shadows on the floor and on a curtain created with a special white textile.
The interplay of shadows is doubled and interwoven: on the floor visitors can see silhouettes of the Marquees, while at the same time their profiles are projected against the white surface, creating a phantasmagorical landscape.
The pairing of Another Day with Another Sun and Marquees generates a unique, single artwork accompanied by an interplay of cross-references, causes and effects and evokes absences that become real presences. The result is an enigmatic, suspended space that recalls an ephemeral urban scenario that penetrates the exhibition space; a science fiction set, but also the history of pre-cinema and son et lumière performances.