Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster opens up a space for encounter, welcoming aliens into Hyde Park for a major exhibition at Serpentine this summer.
What if aliens were to fall in love with us? What would it change, why and how?
Serpentine is delighted to present ‘Alienarium 5’, a major exhibition by leading experimental artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. On display at Serpentine South from 14 April until 4 September 2022, this is the artist’s first major institutional solo show in the UK since ‘TH.2058’ at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2008.
Following a long line of projects such as ‘Cosmodrome’ at Le Consortium in 2001 (Dijon, France), ‘Chronotypes & Dioramas’ at Dia Art Foundation (New York, 2009), ‘Pynchon Park’ at MAAT (Lisbon, 2017) and ‘Martin Dreams Ensemble’ at GFZK (Leipzig, 2018), ‘Alienarium 5’ is a vision resulting from over twenty years of Gonzalez-Foerster’s explorations into science-fiction and alien life, and her experiments in deep space. Conceived specifically for Serpentine, the exhibition will feature almost entirely new work engaging both the gallery’s internal and external spaces. ‘Alienarium 5’ is a speculative environment in which to imagine possible encounters with extra-terrestrials.
Approaching from the park, visitors will come across a statue in remembrance o the coming alien developed by the artist together with writer and philosopher, Paul B. Preciado. Visible from outside the gallery will be ‘Holorama’, a new work created together this time with Perez, a musician and Gonzalez-Foerster’s co-conspirator for ‘Exotourisme’, a musical project begun in 2018 which built upon an earlier exhibition of the same title presented at the Centre Pompidou in 2002.
The space inside the gallery will be transformed into an immersive sensory environment, incorporating visual, sonic, olfactory, tactile and live engagements that expand the audience’s ability to imagine alternative forms of life and alien encounters.
In the artist’s words, the exhibition can be thought of as a ‘mutant place contributing to the invention of new technologies of consciousness, while also functioning as ‘an anti-War of the World’s vision. The installation includes a 360-degree panorama, a scent collaboration with Barnabé Fillion of Arpa Studios, and a new VR piece that, following on from her critically-acclaimed ‘Endodrome’ presented at the 2019 Venice Biennale, marks the artist’s second VR work produced by VIVE Arts, and developed by Lucid Realities.
Inspired by Serpentine’s historical position as a tea house and site of rendez-vous, as well as by past exhibitions at the gallery by Emma Kunz and Hilma af Klimt that looked at the relationship between art and spiritualism, Gonzalez-Foerster’s project purposes a visionary space of connection. Serving as a meeting point for friends from the past, future and a time not yet named, ‘Alienarium 5’ encourages people to come together with love for one another and for visitors from outer space.
In the creation of this super-natural environment, the artist prompts us to ask: What if aliens were in love with us? What would change, why and how?
Bettina Korek, CEO, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine, say:
“Dominque Gonzalez-Foerster is an artist synonymous with experimentation, whose career has spanned decades of research into sensorial and existential dimensions of human life. As such, we are honoured that she has accepted our invitation to create bold, immersive environment that we hope will change the ways that those who experience it think, see and feel. It is with great anticipation that we look forward to inviting audiences to encounter her phenomenological ‘mise-en-escape’ to quote the artist herself.”
An exhibition catalogue co-published by Serpentine and Koeing is forthcoming and will comprise conversations with and contributions by artists, musicians, architects, writers, and thinkers across time and space.
Forming part of the Live Programme for ‘Alienarium 5’, live apparitions will appear at various points throughout the duration of the exhibition.
Dominque Gonzalez-Foerster (b. in 1965 in Strasbourg, France) metabolites cinematographic, literary, architectural, musical and pop references to create spaces that investigate the implicit neutrality of artistic practice and display.
Gonzalez-Foerster’s work consists of short films, concerts, exhibitions and activations to explore the essences of objects and their context. The artist’s multifaceted oeuvre ranges from collected fragments of modernist buildings in Brazil to an immersive light and sound environment speculating on climate catastrophe and the imagination of future life forms.
The artist builds multifaceted worlds that oscillate between finite and infinite, the empirical and the dramaturgical. Elliptical texts, carefully drafted or selected by the artist, often support the understanding of these abstract environments, fluctuating between fiction and non-fiction whilst rooting themselves in the complexity of memory.
Beginning with her participation in the 1992 ‘Exhibit A: Eight Artists from Europe and America’ and in Serpentine’s Poetry Marathon in 2009, Gonzales-Foerster has worked closely with the Serpentine for over twelve years. In this time, she has appeared together with writer Enrique Vila-Matas for ‘Park Nights’ (2010), was involved in The Studio of Giles Round (2010), the Garden Marathon (2011), ‘Memory Marathon’ (2012), Transformation Marathon (2015), GUEST, GHOST HOST: MACHINE Marathon’ (2017), and has done a live concert and EP Release of Exotourisme (2018) for which she also collaborated with musician Perez.