23/10/2013 – 12/01/2014
Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France
It was the Annlee project in 1999-2000 when I was first attracted to Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno. The project, which they purchased a female character for $428 from a Japanese animation company and created works using her image in collaboration with their peer artists, was interesting for me as I specialized in representation of Japanese contemporary visual culture at the time. This project perfectly captured hollowness, and specific lurid sense of existence of manga/animation characters. In those days, I talked about the Annlee to Katy Deepwell, a feminist art critic and visited Japan by chance. She sputtered, “I don’t think it is interesting!” — which made me freeze. It was reasonable that purchasing female body was disgusting for the feminism activist even if Annlee was a two-dimensional artifact. And afterwards, I became to share Deepwell’s comment to some extent; I got to know the project finished with Annlee’s funeral. Involuntarily I pictured that another body was exploited and threw away with no respect in a far country. I tried to understand that it was needed for art, but somehow it was hard.
Therefore, to see Tino Sehgal’s performance piece of Annlee in Parreno’s solo exhibition, Anywhere, Anywhere, Out of the World, at Palais de Tokyo, was a relieve. After Parreno’s video work, in which the character saying “My name is Annlee. No ghost, just a shell” (Anywhere out of The World, 2000), a real girl appeared and talked “My name is Annlee. I am happy to see you in real” (Annlee, 2011). She, once purchased as an existence without ghost, became a character who has experienced some history of her own. This time, the real girl became a shell.
Other than Annlee, there were many ghosts of artistic creature in the exhibition site. Four pianos dotted through the building were playing Stravinsky’s Petrushka once played by a pianist Mikhail Rudy. 16 theatrical marquees were turning on and off like someone was dancing (Danny The Street, 2013). In a circle stage in which only dancing foot sounds were heard, the background wall went around (How Can We Know the Dancer from the Dance?, 2012). Zidane was cut into pieces for 17 screens from his documentary film, which exposed his nature as idle (Zidane, a 21st Century Portrait, 2006). Marilyn Monroe, we couldn’t see her but only her vision in a hotel where she lived was filmed, with her voice synthesized by computer (Marilyn, 2012). These ghosts all once created as artistic representations reappeared as many layers of sound and light, filling the huge space of Palais de Tokyo. While it had a sense of melancholic, I found the exhibition vitally energetic. Like pitiful Annlee resurrected with the help of real girl’s body, artificial existences were regenerated in a vast shell of the museum. I thought; here, my body might have become a shell as well, and possessed by those ghosts. We were all shells and ghosts, exchanging our lives perpetually.
5 June 2014