Philippe Parreno

Philippe Parreno, The Boy from Mars (installation view), 2006 

Philippe Parreno, The Boy from Mars (installation view), 2006 

A common thread in Philippe Parreno’s (b.1964, Algeria) work is an exploration of the creation of valorisation and meaning within cultural and economic structures. When Parreno and Pierre Huyghe bought the copyright to a Japanese Manga character (Ann Lee) and set about giving this ‘shell’ a personal history, the project was to end with the copyright being transferred to Ann Lee herself. This provided a neat fictional closure to a real commercial transaction, and a commentary on the eventual ownership of the means of production by the proletariat.

Parreno samples and juxtaposes material from a huge variety of sources to show the interplay of the real, the symbolic and the imaginary. His concern with communications media shows his need to develop new narrative possibilities, to rethink modes of production, exhibition and authorship, and especially to interrogate classic ‘artworld’ forms.

Within a broad interest in interpersonal exchange and collective subjectivity, Parreno  places particular importance on an ‘aesthetic of alliances’ – his collaborations with friends. The fact that an oeuvre attributed to ‘Philippe Parreno’ has nevertheless emerged is just one of the contradictions with which we are faced in the work.

Parreno's installation for International 06 entitled The Boy from Mars (2006) questioned the role of exhibitions and their potential to articulate and convey information. Questioning and subverting our expectations of exhibition spaces, he animated the static architecture of the gallery. Entering the final spaces of the exhibition at Tate Liverpool, visitors reached what appears to be a dead end. On closer inspection, the shelves holding DVDs that blocked our path are found to rotate, and reveal a further display space – albeit a disrupted one. The DVDs may be taken away by the visitor; yet once removed from their sleeves they rapidly oxidise, severely limiting their functional life.

Philippe Parreno at Liverpool Biennial 2006

The Boy from Mars, 2006
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial 2006
Exhibited at Tate Liverpool

Supported by

The Henry Moore Foundation
Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
Visiting Arts 
Courtesy of Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York