10 July 2014

PIERRE HUYGHE AT MUSEUM LUDWIG KÖLN

Pierre_Huyghe_Museum Ludwig_Courtesy Museum Ludwig and Pierre Huyghe / Copyright Pierre Huyghe Pierre_Huyghe_Museum Ludwig_Courtesy Museum Ludwig and Pierre Huyghe / Copyright Pierre Huyghe Pierre_Huyghe_Museum Ludwig_Courtesy Museum Ludwig and Pierre Huyghe / Copyright Pierre Huyghe
all images: Pierre Huyghe at Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Courtesy the artist; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris; Esther Schipper, Berlin, © Pierre Huyghe / photos by Anneli Botz // photo of the dog:
© VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2014 /

Walking through Pierre Huyghe’s travelling retrospective at Museum Ludwig in Cologne resembles a journey through the topographical map of his complex oeuvre, which ranges from film to photography to sculpture and from architecture to living eco systems. Before leaving the rooms of Centre Pompidou in Paris, Huyghe had the exhibition’s walls cut into pieces and brought to Cologne where they were rearranged in the space of the museum. Thus the visitors are guided through the retrospective as if they were walking into a long tube of walls, where they are bound to lurk around corners and step into artificially constructed rooms. This architectural decision suggests a sense of how the artist is dealing with space: Rather than using the given or deconstructing it completely, the 1962 born Parisian deregulates allegedly deadlocked structures in both architecture but also in his single pieces. 

Many of Pierre Huyghe’s pieces are build on art historical references, such as the composition „Untilled“, which was originally created for dOCUMENTA (13) and has been rebuild for the little outside area on the first floor of the Museum: Enthroned upon a muddy hill, a nude sculpture, known to be a replica of a work from the artist Max Weber from 1930, majestically raises her head. This very head consists of a constantly growing, fully functioning bee stock. Close to the consciously created anthill, an uprooted tree (which is one of the 7000 Oak trees that Joseph Beuys planted at dOCUMENTA (7) in 1982) lies on the ground, while a white skinny dog with a pink leg roams through the garden. Reinterpreting Beuys’ idea of the social sculpture, this multi-layered work displays the organic stages of a functioning eco-system while playing with fictitious, almost paint-like associations. They speak of a mythical, surreal world, only touched by the visitor’s speciation and imagination. 

Roaming through the disarranged rooms and stopping at a fish tank with red lava rocks that is home to a mystic hermit crab wearing a copy of Brancusi’s „sleeping muse“, one passes theatrical video installations and stripped walls that reveal the wall colour of every exhibition the museum has seen in the past decades. Eventually the visitors reach a giant black ice plate. Although a lot less pregnant with heavy meaning, the cold broken darkness evokes some parallels to Paul Celan’s oxymoron of black milk and captures the spectator in its contradictoriness and destruction. 

At the end of Pierre Huyghe’s magical course a room with a beautiful light installation, accompanied by classical music, invites the visitor to stay on the soft carpet in the darkness and contemplate the multi-layered experiences of this retrospective. The next location for this show will be the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and it would be interesting to see how the artist’s topographical nexus will be displayed there.

Pierre Huyghe 
11. April - 13. Juli 2014 

Heinrich-Böll-Platz 
50667 Cologne 
Opening Hours: Tue 10-20h, Wed-Fri 10-18h, Sat/Sun 11-18h 

13.07.2014, 16.00 Uhr 
Finissage: Pierre Huyghe mit King Ludwig Konzert: MOODOID

Pierre_Huyghe_Museum Ludwig_Courtesy Museum Ludwig and Pierre Huyghe / Copyright Pierre Huyghe Pierre_Huyghe_Museum Ludwig_Courtesy Museum Ludwig and Pierre Huyghe / Copyright Pierre Huyghe Pierre_Huyghe_Museum Ludwig_Courtesy Museum Ludwig and Pierre Huyghe / Copyright Pierre Huyghe Pierre_Huyghe_Museum Ludwig_Courtesy Museum Ludwig and Pierre Huyghe / Copyright Pierre Huyghe Pierre_Huyghe_Museum Ludwig_Courtesy Museum Ludwig and Pierre Huyghe / Copyright Pierre Huyghe Pierre_Huyghe_Museum Ludwig_Courtesy Museum Ludwig and Pierre Huyghe / Copyright Pierre Huyghe Pierre_Huyghe_Museum Ludwig_Courtesy Museum Ludwig and Pierre Huyghe / Copyright Pierre Huyghe Pierre_Huyghe_Museum Ludwig_Courtesy Museum Ludwig and Pierre Huyghe / Copyright Pierre Huyghe Pierre_Huyghe_Museum Ludwig_Courtesy Museum Ludwig and Pierre Huyghe / Copyright Pierre Huyghe Pierre_Huyghe_Museum Ludwig_Courtesy Museum Ludwig and Pierre Huyghe / Copyright Pierre Huyghe Pierre_Huyghe_Museum Ludwig_Courtesy Museum Ludwig and Pierre Huyghe / Copyright Pierre Huyghe Pierre_Huyghe_Museum Ludwig_Courtesy Museum Ludwig and Pierre Huyghe / Copyright Pierre Huyghe all images: Pierre Huyghe at Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Courtesy the artist; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris; Esther Schipper, Berlin,© Pierre Huyghe / photos by Anneli Botz // photo of the crab:
© VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2014 /
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