On entering the darkened gallery we're greeted by a video showing the ruins of the town of Fukushima before focussing on what appears to be a young girl in an abandoned house. Yet the girl turns out to be a monkey wearing a mask, and the image of simian hands stroking its own faux human hair whilst wearing an impassive mask is extremely unsettling.
Over time we learn this monkey has been trained to serve people before being abandoned by its owners. As the film progresses and we realise the monkey appears to be trapped in this house, the viewer becomes increasingly sympathetic towards this helpless animal.
The other works are just as surreal — including a video of insects trapped in amber and aquaria whose glass walls flicker from opaque to transparent, revealing fish and a pair of axolotl. There is even a headless sculpture covered in vegetation that radiates its own 'body heat'.
The central theme around Pierre Huyghe's In. Border. Deep is the transition of time and the evolution of nature. While the individual works may be loosely bound by this theme, each work is radical enough to fully engage with, despite the lack of obvious affiliation to each other.
This is a diverse and rather bizarre exhibition with the strongest work being the moving film on the subject of the trapped, masked monkey.
Pierre Huyghe: In. Border. Deep is on at Hauser & Wirth, 23 Savile Row, W1S 2ET until 1 November. Entrance is free.
For more art to see in London, visit our September listings.