Shotgun Reviews are an open forum where we invite the international art community to contribute timely, short-format responses to an exhibition or event. If you are interested in submitting a Shotgun Review, please click this link for more information. In this Shotgun Review, Scott Norton reviews Pierre Huyghe’s solo exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Entering the retrospective exhibition Pierre Huyghe at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is like entering a world where the lines of reality blur with that of constructed mythology. The contents of the exhibition—which includes more than two decades of work by the Paris-born Huyghe—seem to be more artifact than art. Arranged freely throughout the somber-lit, maze-like environment of the gallery, Huyghe’s multimedia happenings seem to contain elements of modern-day myth making, and place the viewer in a space where created fictions dictate a new world fashioned by the artist.
A Journey That Wasn’t (2005) is a tale of a voyage to the frozen Antarctic in search for a mythic albino penguin juxtaposed with a musical retelling of the event set in Central Park. Each “terrain”—one real and one imagined—begins to mirror the other, and gives way to a crescendo where each world bleeds into the other. Meanwhile, a cacophony of indistinct, almost organic sounds emanates from an equally murky symphonic score. Akin to a classic epic cycle, a hero’s quest is echoed by a psychological transformation. At journey’s end, the protagonist is forever haunted by the visions encountered while away, like Ulysses in Homer’s Odyssey or Ahab in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.