Tate Modern  Level 4 West
5 July – 17 September 2006

The first solo exhibition in the UK by French artist Pierre Huyghe (born Paris 1962), Celebration Park  features several newly completed projects alongside significant recent works never previously shown in the UK.

Celebration Park premieres a new work A journey that wasn’t 2006, based on Huyghe’s 2005 journey to Antarctica, where he searched for a unique creature reported to be living on an hypothetical uncharted island. The story of this expedition is told in a film; partly shot on location in Antarctica and partly on location in New York’s atmospheric Wollman Ice Rink in Central Park, where Huyghe staged a spectacular operatic event, related to the journey, last autumn.

Featuring film, neon texts and sculpture, Celebration Park takes the visitor on a journey of discovery in which fact and fiction, storytelling, the nature of time and intellectual property are all played with and explored in Huyghe’s complex, multi-layered works. At the entrance to the exhibition, an oversized set of doors seem to appear and disappear: freed from function, they move sedately yet mysteriously through the space.

Huyghe adopts familiar cultural forms in his new works. Puppet shows, village fêtes and natural history films are all referenced in his investigations into the nature of art and society. The exhibition features significant recent film works such as Streamside Day 2003, in which Huyghe invents a celebratory ritual for a new suburban community. This is not a time for dreaming 2004, depicts Huyghe’s puppet show story of Le Corbusier’s commission to design the Carpenter Center (1963) for Harvard University and his own experiences of being commissioned by the same institution in 2004.

Huyghe regularly collaborates with other artists, as well as architects, musicians and graphic designers, and shared authorship and the crossing of boundaries between disciplines is at the core of both his practice and this exhibition. Since the early 1990s, Huyghe has been a leading figure within an important grouping of contemporary artists who regularly exhibit and collaborate together including Rirkrit Tiravanija, Liam Gillick and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. They and many other artists, including Olafur Eliasson, Tacita Dean and Lawrence Weiner, contributed a poster to One Year Celebration 2003- 6, in which artists have proposed days to celebrate everything from the humble shoelace to animal intelligence.

During the exhibition, Huyghe’s earlier videos and films, including Blanche Neige Lucie 1997, L’ellipse 1998, and the complete series of No Ghost Just A Shell 1999-2003 will be screened in the Starr Auditorium on Level 2.

Pierre Huyghe: Celebration Park is curated by Emma Dexter, Tate Modern Curator and Vincent Honoré, Assistant Curator Tate Modern, in close collaboration with Pierre Huyghe. A fully illustrated catalogue will be available, with contributions from Pierre Huyghe and leading critics, artists and curators including Daniel Birnbaum, Emma Dexter, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Dorothea von Hantelmann and Hans-Ulrich Obrist. 

An Exhibition organised by Tate Modern in association with Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris/Arc and Paris-Musées. Supported by the French Embassy and the Association Française d’Action Artistique/AFAA as part of Paris Calling, a season of contemporary art from France.

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