Philippe Parreno

Born in 1964 in Oran (Algeria), he lives and works in Paris.

Snow Dancing, 1995
Acrylic, metal, 185 x 60 // 20 x 15 cm

Fondation MAMCO, Geneva

A road sign indicates the direction of an imaginary site called ‘Snow Dancing’. This sign suggests a rite of dancing in the hope of seeing snow fall, a practice considered superstitious in popular imagination. Summoned to the exhibition space, itself surrounded by mountains, its mention evokes a form of magical ritual, images of gracious collective ceremonies and enchanted landscapes.
The name of the work comes from an eponymous text published in 1995 by GW Press, consisting of a transcript of a party which Philippe Parreno described to Liam Gillick and Jack Wendler. But this description is fanciful because this evening has never taken place, or rather, not yet. Two months after its publication, hundreds of people were invited to the Dijon Consortium to participate in an event performing Parreno’s work as if it were a script or a score. Works including the exposed panel are created in order to transform the architecture of the art centre into a place of ceremony. The latter is thus the symbol of the power of imagination and performative speech, and at the same time the traces of what has happened and the instruction for it to be reproduced. The work is part of a larger ensemble characteristic of Philippe Parreno’s approach, creating works as immersive experiences, suspended in a fictional time, between symbols and nostalgia.

Philippe Parreno, Snow Dancing, 1995 Acrylique, metal 185 × 60 cm – Photo © Annik Wetter Courtesy of MAMCO, Geneva