The visitor was guided through the Philippe Parreno exhibition by the orchestration of sound and image. Noise from Kensington Gardens and from the surrounding streets could be heard inside the gallery, as though the outside was leaking in. The blinds came up to reveal a sudden change of weather. Taking the exhibition as a medium, Parreno sought to redefine the exhibition experience by exploring its possibilities as a coherent ‘object’ rather than a collection of individual works.
The show featured the UK premiere of Parreno’s film, Invisibleboy (2010), the story of an illegal Chinese immigrant boy who sees imaginary monsters (scratched directly onto the film stock). In this filmic portrait, fantasy and social realism, fiction and documentary overlap. June 8, 1968 (2009) recalls the train voyage that transported the corpse of assassinated senator Robert Kennedy from New York to Washington D.C. Kennedy’s invisible body and the Invisibleboy are characters that float between several layers of reality. Set in Asia, The Boy from Mars (2003) follows dimming points of light and reflections of the sun, before lingering on buffalo tied to a purpose-built structure containing an electricity-generating machine that provides the power required to make the film.
Whether through the cinematic image or the exhibition itself, Parreno explores and manipulates contemporary signs in all of their hallucinatory reality.