Philippe Parreno The Boy From Mars 2003/06

Philippe Parreno
The Boy From Mars 2003/06
Rotating door, DVDs, mechanical blinds
Dimensions variable
Photo © Tate 2006
Courtesy the artist and Friedrich Petzel Galllery, New York
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial International 06

Parreno tests the realm between the fictional and the real. In much of his work imaginary constructs are appropriated and transferred to the tangible world – he gave, for example, a ‘real’ life, death and even scent to the Japanese Manga character Ann Lee. This transitional path is, however, sometimes reversed, and it is information already presented in the real that is called into question.

Parreno is sceptical about the role of exhibitions and their potential to articulate and convey information. Questioning and subverting our expectations of exhibition spaces, he has animated the static architecture of the gallery. Entering the final spaces of the exhibition at Tate Liverpool visitors reach what appears to be a dead-end. On closer inspection, the wall that blocked our path actually rotates to reveal a further display space. The interventions that follow include a shelf with DVDs to be taken away by the visitor, yet once removed from their sleeves the disks rapidly oxidise, severely limiting their functional life. We come seeking information yet are told to go away and watch a video – an activity that soon also becomes futile. His puncturing of the space and the ideas it contains are a pithy investigation of the relationship between art and society.