Galerie Marian Goodman, 79 Rue Du Temple, 25003, Paris

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  • Huyghe Host and the Cloud RabbitGarden2
    Title : Huyghe Host and the Cloud RabbitGarden2
  • Huyghe the host and the cloud mask
    Title : Huyghe the host and the cloud mask

On The Host and the Cloud by Vincent Honoré

One can read the Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Caseres as a metaphor of control, in relation to the role a citizen may be asked to play in contemporary society. A fugitive hides on a desert island until tourists suddenly appear. He spies on them, falls in love with one. But he notices that something is wrong. The same conversations, the same scenes, repeat themselves. He wants to take part, to stop being an observer, and to be a protagonist, an actor. He then realizes, however: nothing exists. The tourists are projected images. He can’t be part of their world, he can’t control the action and he will forever remain an observer.

What is a modern character’ What is the role of a modern character’ Kafka, Pirandello, Musil, Brecht, et al. were exploring the same road in their time: the structural re-evaluation of the role played by a character had been a core issue of modern literature and theatre. An issue, it seems, that is continuing to remain central to contemporary art. Is a protagonist still entitled to inform his own story’ In a broader sense, can we still inhabit and be the actors of our own stories and memories’ The characters in Keren Cytter’s films try, but can’t influence their stories. Simon Fujiwara or Danh Vo attempt to inhabit their own stories, but often by making them fictional…

The Host and the Cloud, the latest project by Pierre Huyghe, is primarily a live spectacle, what Huyghe calls ‘an experiment’. Although he started staging similar sorts of live experiments as early as 1993 with La Toison d’or, a carnival in Dijon, it wasn’t until 2003 that Huyghe really turned to grandiose live spectacles, with a celebration designed for a small community near the Hudson River. A year later he built a theatre in Harvard, in which he staged a live puppet play staging, among others, the life of Le Corbusier. Then in 2005, a journey to Antarctica was transformed by Huyghe into a live orchestral spectacle in Hyde Park. Most recently for The Host and the Cloud, Huyghe orchestrated a series of ‘apparitions’ in a closed museum over three specific days, (Halloween, Valentine’s Day and May Day). There, a select group of people experience a catwalk, a theatre of shadows, the trial of a terrorist group, a puppet, some musicians, a naked woman wandering with a naked child, an actress being hypnotized, etc. A film documents part of this experiment.

Through The Host and the Cloud, Huyghe pursues his exploration of physical and symbolic migrations, structuring his project into a series of replicas: from the live experiment to the souvenirs and accounts of the audience published in magazines, now to the film and soon into a book. He experiments with what constitutes a narration, a tale. Far from constructing it, (he never wrote a script), he instead only gives spare indications: selecting images from an existing open book of collective memories, asking his actors to inhabit this shared imagery either by replaying some scenes, observing each other and then being affected by this…not a story, not a tale, but its substance. The actors thus embody in-between positions, as fiction is now defictionalised by imagery becoming real and reality is derealised via the fictions and imagery infiltrating it. The Host and the Cloud is clearly a project in which the artist wanted to relinquish at least some of his control.

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