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Pierre Huyghe at IMMA

The first presentation in this country of the work of the highly-regarded French artist Pierre Huyghe opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday 23 February 2005. Pierre Huyghe: Streamside Day is a 26-minute film in which the artist explores the relationship between the past, the present and the future and uses this device to address issues associated with reality and fiction, and individual and collective identity. The film dates from 2003, when it was commissioned by the DIA Center for the Arts in New York.

Streamside Day opens in an idyllic rural landscape, where we see a deer and its fawn among green pastures. These images slowly dissolve into a Disneyesque scenario, with the fawn being seen in poses reminiscent of Disney’s Bambi. As we trace the fawn’s growth, in parallel we follow a family migrating to their new home – an urban housing development, hypothetically in the Hudson Valley, which will eventually supplant this natural environment. Describing the background to the project, Huyghe says, “We are in the year 01, the beginning of a story you are already apart of. Between the mountains and the bank of the Hudson River, a village is forming in the forest. Families are moving in, construction of streets and houses is almost complete, gardens are growing and soon the playgrounds will be filled.”

The action builds up towards a central event – the Streamside Day neighbourhood festival, complete with a speech by the mayor, fireworks, children dressed as animals and the obligatory band. Huyghe then intercuts these images with further shots of the deer, now wandering the suburban roads. Further references – to 19th-century utopian social projects, Hollywood films and romantic landscape painting –are also intertwined in the narrative.

Streamside Day carries forward a recurring motif in Huyghe’s work, in which, rather than denigrating suburbia as a place of alienation and homogenisation, he seeks to celebrate man’s desire to settle on the edge of nature. The film also the product of the artist’s interest in the place of folklore and tradition in contemporary society and his fascination with communal rituals as an agent of change, growth and the evolution of society.

Born in Paris in 1962, Pierre Huyghe has gained particular international prominence since the mid-1990s, with works ranging across architecture, magazines, billboards, television, cinema and museum exhibitions. Since 1995 he has had solo shows in more than 30 galleries throughout Europe and America, including, in 2003, at the Guggenheim in New York. He was awarded a DAAD artist’s residency in Berlin in 1999 and in 2001 received the Special Prize of the Jury at the Venice Biennale.

The exhibition is curated by Rachael Thomas, Senior Curator: Head of Exhibitions at IMMA. An exhibition guide, with an essay by Rachael Thomas, accompanies the exhibition (price €1.00).

Curators’ Talk
On Friday 18 March 2005 at 11.00am Rachael Thomas and Berta Sichel, Director of the Audiovisual Department, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, will discuss Pierre Huyghe’s work in relation to the history of film and video. Admission to the talk is free but booking is essential on Tel: +353 1 612 9900 or the automatic booking line +353 1 612 9948; Email: [email protected].

The exhibition continues until 15 May 2005. Admission is free.
Opening hours:
 Tuesday to Saturday 10.00am-5.30pm
                            Sundays and Bank Holidays 12 noon- 5.30pm
                            Closed  Mondays and Friday 25 March 

For further information and images please contact Patrice Molloy or Daniela Sabatini at Tel: +353 1 612 9900; Email: [email protected].   

17 February 2005