Philippe Parreno at Serralves
Philippe Parreno, whose collaboration with Bas Smets was recently featured in TLmag 26, has used repetition and variation to structure his exhibition at the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto until May 1.
The first major exhibition by French artist and filmmaker Philippe Parreno, A Time Coloured Space is not about an art object, but the recurrence and rhythm of the object’s appearance. This is based on the musical principle of ritournelle whereby a particular refrain is repeated at intervals for compositional value. Surfacing ritournelle outside of the musical context, Parreno has drawn on Giles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition (1968). Each room varies only in colour and composition from the previous, turning the exhibition into an automaton of variables in which imitation becomes invention.
Spread across 13 rooms at the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, are numerous installations of Parreno’s Speech Bubbles (1997 and ongoing) – cartoon speech bubble-shaped balloons filled with helium – in various colours; Fraught Times: For Eleven Months of the Year it’s an Artwork and then December it’s Christmas (2008-2016), a series of aluminium sculptures cast as snow-covered Christmas trees; more than 180 ink drawings (2012-2015); With a Rhythmic Instinction to be Able to Travel Beyond Existing Forces of Life (2016), an animated film based on the drawings; and a number of light objects.
British novelist Adam Thirlwell has also written a book with Parreno. It is styled as an illustrated screenplay in which the two discuss the ‘non-human’ elements that Thirlwell has come across in Parreno’s films and writing.