Philippe Parreno Blinds Us With Dying Fireflies

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 46 months ago
Philippe Parreno Blinds Us With Dying Fireflies
Installation shot from Philippe Parreno. Courtesy the gallery. Photo credit: Andrea Rossetti
Installation shot from Philippe Parreno. Courtesy the gallery. Photo credit: Andrea Rossetti
Installation shot from Philippe Parreno. Courtesy the gallery. Photo credit: Andrea Rossetti
Installation shot from Philippe Parreno. Courtesy the gallery. Photo credit: Andrea Rossetti
Film still from Philippe Parreno, With a Rhythmic Instinction to be Able to Travel Beyond Existing Forces of Life, 2014
© Philippe Parreno. Courtesy Pilar Corrias, London
Film still from Philippe Parreno, With a Rhythmic Instinction to be Able to Travel Beyond Existing Forces of Life, 2014 © Philippe Parreno. Courtesy Pilar Corrias, London
Installation shot from Philippe Parreno. Courtesy the gallery. Photo credit: Andrea Rossetti
Installation shot from Philippe Parreno. Courtesy the gallery. Photo credit: Andrea Rossetti
Film still from Philippe Parreno, With a Rhythmic Instinction to be Able to Travel Beyond Existing Forces of Life, 2014
© Philippe Parreno. Courtesy Pilar Corrias, London
Film still from Philippe Parreno, With a Rhythmic Instinction to be Able to Travel Beyond Existing Forces of Life, 2014 © Philippe Parreno. Courtesy Pilar Corrias, London
Film still from Philippe Parreno, With a Rhythmic Instinction to be Able to Travel Beyond Existing Forces of Life, 2014
© Philippe Parreno. Courtesy Pilar Corrias, London
Film still from Philippe Parreno, With a Rhythmic Instinction to be Able to Travel Beyond Existing Forces of Life, 2014 © Philippe Parreno. Courtesy Pilar Corrias, London

Philippe Parreno is a film maker and artist best known for his 2006 work 'Zidane: A 21st century portrait', which followed the iconic French football player Zinedine Zidane for the entire duration of a single match. This is Parreno's latest exhibition in London since his excellent and surreal 2010 show at the Serpentine gallery.

The first work in this show can be seen from outside the gallery as the blind on the front window moves up and down erratically. It's designed to react to sound so it will open when it's noisy outside and close when it's quiet. Watching the world go by from inside is an unsettling experience as the blind determines whether what's outside is worth seeing based purely on volume.

The centrepiece on the ground floor is a large screen flicking through images of fireflies and the use of intensely bright lights ensures the viewer remains transfixed. According to an algorithm, every now and then a firefly will 'die' and it's images will stay up on screen for a while - watching this cycle of 'life and death' is hypnotic.

The works downstairs include a smaller version of the screen upstairs and some three dimensional landscapes that must be viewed through glasses, but these works are ineffectual.

In this exhibition Parreno is making a comment on how the spread of capitalism and industrialisation has led to a lot of our lives being automated and controlled by machines and algorithms, and the adverse impact this has had on nature and our sense of self. It's a message evident in most of these works but particularly effective in those mesmerising fireflies.

Philippe Parreno: With a Rhythmic Instinction to be Able to Travel Beyond Existing Forces of Life is on at Pilar Corrias, 54 Eastcastle St, W1W 8EF until 14 November.

Last Updated 21 October 2014