A Journey That Wasn’t

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Pierre Huyghe

April 16 – June 19, 2011

Pierre Huyghe, still from "A Journey that wasn't" (2005). Super 16mm film and HD video transferred to HD  video, color, sound. 21 minutes 41 seconds. Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Centre. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York / Paris

On February 9th, 2005, internationally renowned French artist Pierre Huyghe, along with six invited artists and ten crew members, set sail from the Port of Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, the south-easternmost point of Argentina. Their journey centered on a search for an unknown island somewhere at the height of the Antarctic Circle and an encounter with a unique solitary creature that was rumoured to live only on its shores. To this adventure Huyghe would add a second: an elaborate re-enactment of the first voyage as a concert and light show on an ice rink in Central Park. The resulting work, A Journey That Wasn't, merges these two events of Huyghe’s creation into one film. Part nature documentary, part sci-fi movie, and part musical, the cinematic experience shifts between scenes of breathtaking beauty in the Antarctic and the orchestrated performance in New York. This film, like many of Huyghe's other choreographed spectacles, navigates between fact and fiction, proposing that reality is so unbelievable that "to tell it the right way, you must tell it as a fiction". As the title suggests, it is up to the viewer to decide if this extraordinary journey, witnessed only by those on board, was a tale not easily recorded, or an elaborate narrative designed to affect our sense of reality.

Pierre Huyghe

Born in 1962 in Paris, France, Huyghe attended the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, between 1982–85. His work is multidisciplinary and often draws upon themes of cultural production and identity in relation to history; blurring the distinction between fiction and reality. Huyghe has received multiple awards including a Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) fellowship (1999-2000), the Smithsonian American Museum’s Contemporary Artist Award (2010), the Roswitha Haftmann Preis (2013), and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Hugo Boss Prize (2002). Huyghe has had exhibitions at Tate Modern, London, ARC, Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2006); Carpenter Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2004); Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (2004); Dia Center for the Arts, New York (2003); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2003); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2000); and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2000), among others.