Espoo Museum of Modern Art
Pierre Huyghe: Chimeras opens at EMMA
EMMA and Saastamoinen Foundation are proud to open a new exhibition by French artist Pierre Huyghe as part of their collaborative exhibition series InCollection. His new exhibition, entitled Chimeras, brings together five works from the last decade, all manifestations of another subjectivity, non-human and inhuman, that keep transforming itself. The exhibition consists of different intelligent life forms, biological, technological that learn and evolve in uncertain states. The exhibition is on view from June 7 to October 22, 2023.
Pierre Huyghe (b. 1962) has been redefining the format of exhibition and artistic expression over three decades. The artist challenges the traditional hierarchical exhibition experience: for him, the exhibition is a ritual, a sensory encounter with a milieu that perceives and generates new possibilities of co-dependence between events or elements that unfold. The exhibition is constituted of aquariums and films separated by glass walls that intermittently switch from opacity to transparency, triggered by the surrounding artworks. The exhibition is curated by EMMA’s former Chief Curator Arja Miller and Creator Projects’ Director, Simon Friese, in collaboration with Anne Stenne, Curator at Pierre Huyghe Studio.
“Pierre Huyghe’s art encourages us to reflect on alternative possibilities and speculative processes. Huyghe’s art reminds us of the uncanniness and about the endless variation and ultimate richness of life,” Arja Miller says.
The title of the exhibition, Chimeras, refers to organisms composed of cells with more than one distinct genotype. Pierre Huyghe uses Chimeras as a concept to describe non-binary existence. Huyghe’s body of work brings together poetic, sometimes surprising elements from various interests, from fiction and philosophy to biology, neuroscience and cognitive science, while combining a variety of media with a wide range of intelligent life forms. Huyghe is interested in creating conditions in which different beings can live without hierarchies or narrowly defined outcomes. The enduring questions revolving around the constitution of reality, of self, and knowledge, and the speculation on other worlds, are some of the key subject matters of his practice.
Pierre Huyghe is internationally known and has been presented in various museums around the world, such as the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Tate Modern in London. He has also participated in a number of international art shows, including documenta 11 and 13 in Kassel, the 14th Istanbul Biennial and the 49th Venice Biennial.
The exhibition takes as its starting point the aquarium Abyssal Plain. The initial project, Geometry of the Immortals (2015) remains unrealized and proposed to introduce an underwater stage at the bottom of the Marmara Sea using leftovers from the artist’s production to create a biotope and a site of self-transformation.
In EMMA’s Abyssal Plain, the same process is repeated: the legs of a previous work, the Untilled statue (2012), are integrated in an aquarium and covered with starfish, a species known for its ability to regenerate their entire body from damaged limbs, evoking the possibility of an endless regeneration.
The aquarium was accessioned to the Saastamoinen Foundation Art Collection and the exhibition is part of EMMA’s and Saastamoinen Foundation’s InCollection exhibition series. Pierre Huyghe is the sixth artist in the series, in which a new artwork is commissioned each year from a visionary contemporary artist for the foundation’s collection. An exhibition is then organized around the commission to interact with the museum’s architecture in a holistic dialogue.
Pierre Huyghe: Chimeras is supported by Hauser & Wirth.