“What unfolds is not a multitude of characters and fates in a single objective world, illuminated by a single authorial consciousness; rather a plurality of consciousnesses, with equal rights and each with its own world, combine but are not merged in the unity of the event.” -M.M. Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics
Friedrich Petzel Gallery is pleased to present Suicide in Vermillon Sands, Philippe Parreno’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery.
A hallway leading into the exhibition holds a red theater marquee. The newest version of Parreno’s flashing labels, the marquee flashes on and off, consuming the exhibition space. These twinkling red lights refer to the cinematic technique of a shot which presents the face of someone looking at the flames of a fire. The fire is never seen, but its presence is felt through the flickering light which falls across the actor’s face. The marquee produces the same experience as a flickering light machine produces in the movies. Upon entering the space, it feels as if the gallery is on fire. The stage is set for a drama.
The hallway opens onto a room with a series of 78 drawings, all done in monochrome vermilion. The drawings were based on the illustrations of 31 graphic designers with whom Parreno collaborated over several years, creating a polyphony of voices. The multiplicity and coexistence of these voices form a dialogue which replaces any finalizability or temporal configuration of a story, the story of a character who appears and disappears in New York City in October, 2008.
The third room of the gallery presents a third chapter to the story. In this all white space with a white, ghostlike marquee, a magician makes a comic book of the drawings continuously appear and disappear, just as the nearby red light of the marquee flickers and fades away, over and over again.
Philippe Parreno was born in Algeria in 1964. His upcoming solo exhibitions in 2009 include the the Kunsthalle Zürich, Musée national d’Art moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou, Beaubourg, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, León, Center for Curatorial Studies and Art in Contemporary Culture, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson. Concurrent to this exhibition a larger marquee will be installed on the façade of the Guggenheim Museum as part of the exhibition Theanyspacewhatever scheduled to open on October 24. The artist lives and works in Paris.