Pierre Huyghe’s Exomind (Deep Water) by Hans Ulrich Obrist
25th September 2019
Pierre Huyghe is one of the most important artists working today. His work has questioned almost every aspect of the making of art and the ways in which it is entangled with exhibition-making and the construction of art history. Those who encounter his work are given prompts, clues to follow his thoughts or to begin their own contemplative perceptions of the world. Over the course of the last decade, Huyghe’s practice has migrated, slipping in and out of traditional art contexts and temporalities, appearing outside of these as often as inside. In both types of space, however, he has found ways to bring human visitors within a set of systems that include biological communities as well as technologies, transforming normally static exhibitions into living organisms. What Huyghe brings together can be passive or active, programmed or self-generative, but those that are able to grow or change are allowed to do so, without further intervention from or control by the artist. Together, the ensemble of components form a dynamic, networked landscape in which all agents, living or not, have the ability to affect one another, regardless of whether they are doing so consciously.
Exomind (Deep Water), 2017, which can soon be discovered in the gardens of Verdala Palace, is part of a group of works developed by Huyghe in the last ten years that circle around questions that are now urgent in the development of and human relationship to Artificial Intelligence and our place in the world: how entangled in our surroundings are we? Can we, or should we even consider our thought processes and experiences as separate from our environment? As in other examples of Huyghe’s practice, this work has the capacity to grow and change itself beyond the control of the artist. It offers us the opportunity to reflect on our place in the earth’s complex ecosystems in a way that might prompt a repositioning that is no longer anthropocentric.
Hans Ulrich Obrist
Hans Ulrich Obrist (b. 1968, Zurich, Switzerland) is Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries, London. Prior to this, he was the Curator of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Since his first show “World Soup” (The Kitchen Show) in 1991 he has curated more than 300 shows. In 2014 he curated the Swiss Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, where he presented Lucius Burckhardt and Cedric Price—A stroll through a fun palace; the building was designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron, and the program was developed with artists Liam Gillick, Philippe Parreno, Tino Sehgal and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. Obrist’s Art of Handwriting project is taking place on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/hansulrichobrist/) and is a protest against the disappearance of handwriting in the digital age.
In 2013, Obrist co-founded with Simon Castets 89plus, a long-term, international, multi-platform research project, conceived as a mapping of the digitally native generation born in or after 1989. In 2011 Obrist received the CCS Bard Award for Curatorial Excellence, in 2009 he was made Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and in 2015 he received the International Folkwang Prize for his commitment to the arts. Obrist has lectured internationally at academic and art institutions, and is contributing editor to several magazines and journals. Obrist’s recent publications include Mondialité, Conversations in Mexico, Conversations in Colombia, Ways of Curating, The Age of Earthquakes with Douglas Coupland and Shumon Basar, and Lives of The Artists, Lives of The Architects.