Pierre Huyghe

Conceptual artist testing the line between human and inhuman

A visit to Huyghe’s exhibition at London’s Serpentine Gallery, which he had infested with bluebottles, was an unpleasant experience. The buzzing beasties added to the sense of claustrophobia generated by standing led screens showing layered, flicking, nightmarish images derived by running data from MRI brain scans through neural imaging networks. Yet Huyghe’s joining of the dots between man, machine and nature has never been comfortable, as the residents of Okayama are now finding. As director of that city’s second art summit, Huyghe has roped in 17 (Western) artists and collectives including Matthew Barney and Lili Reynaud-Dewar to create an exhibition as ‘living entity’ through which to ‘navigate heterogeneous things, chemical and algorithmic processes, as well as different intelligent life forms’. If this sounds natural for an artist long associated with Relational Aesthetics, it makes sense that the man who coined the term, Nicolas Bourriaud, included Huyghe’s work in the group show inaugurating the curator’s Contemporary Art Center of Montpellier.