Pierre Huyghe

Pierre Huyghe’s works typically present themselves as complex systems that are shaped by and bring together a wide range of life forms, objects and diverse technologies. He constructs new forms of organisms that combine biological, technological and fictitious elements. At the same time, he also fosters, as it were, the development of immersive environments that are in a process of constant mutation, in which humans, animals and fictitious characters encounter one another, evolve and continue to grow in correlation to each other. Examples of such work include After ALife Ahead, 2017, Zoodram 2, 2010 and No Ghost No Just a Shell (in collaboration with Philippe Parreno, 1999). For dOCUMENTA (13) the artist developed, in a section of a baroque garden reserved for composting, a non-hierarchical composition consisting of a reclining nude by Max Weber (1930s), whose head is enveloped in a colony of bees, aphrodisiac and psychotropic plants, a live dog with one leg painted pink and an uprooted tree from Joseph Beuys’s 7,000-oak documenta installation from 1982, as well as other elements.

In his Silence Score, Huyghe references the John Cage composition 4ʹ33ʺ of 1952, which consists of three movements and leaves performers free to choose their instruments. The score requires that the musicians, however, refrain from playing their instruments in the allotted time (see Allan Miller/David Tudor: John Cage – “I Have Nothing to Say and I Am Saying It” of 1990). With the aid of computer software, Huyghe transcribes the sounds of a CD recording of 4ʹ33ʺ into classical notes. These recorded notes, in turn, can be played on any conventional musical instrument. In this way, Cage’s radical piece is turned into a playable musical piece, which is linked, however, to a performance. While this results in a precise facsimile of the sounds produced in this particular recording, it is a deliberate misinterpretation of Cage’s concept. Here – as in I do not own 4ʹ33ʺ from his 2006 installation Celebration Park in London – Huyghe’s reinterpretation of existing artworks focuses attention on the issue of intellectual property rights. 

Anke Hervol


In the exhibition:

Pierre Huyghe
Silence Score, 1997
Set of four prints, music sheets with notations, white frame
Each 40 × 30 cm
Courtesy of the artist