What happens when French artist and filmaker Philipe Parreno is given a carte blanche to take over the entirety of the Palais Tokyo’s 22,000 square metered industrial-warehouse of a labyrinth exhibition space? A strange sensory out of body experience to precisely Anywhere, Anywhere Out of the World, the eponymous name of his latest exhibition in Paris.
Parreno’s playground of an exhibition–a comprehensive survey of his work–was just as much dialogue with the architecture of the space itself as with its curatorial fillings. The exhibition was his medium, an art object in its own right.
The spectral presence of flickering film montages and incorporeally disjointed sounds guided the viewers through the maze of rooms that shifted in and out of blackness and disorienting light; manipulating and reshaping the participant’s perception of space and reality. What Parreno created was a sensorially encompassing surrealist experience which awaken feelings of the uncanny, confusion, discomfort, and wonder.
As his works become animated–piano’s played by invisible hands, lights and videos flashing with an epileptic unrest–the space is rendered a living organism, expanding and changing with every breath and turn. Parreno has conjured up an automaton from the very exhibition itself.
The magic of Parreno is that his creations ask us to transcend our world and enter into a starkly shadowed realm where he is god; leaving the viewer to feel reduced to a puppet–one who is often lost to the intentions of the master–in some surrealist, fun-house theatre. But in Parreno’s world, the puppet is rendered automaton much like the whole of the exhibition itself.
The secret to his enigmatic universe is tied to the twin words within the title: “Anywhere.” And herein lies the beauty of Parreno’s creations: they allow our minds to wander Anywhere Out Of The World.