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Philippe Parreno - Biography

Philippe Parreno, is an accomplished artist and filmmaker. He was born in Oran, Algeria in 1964 and currently is based in Paris, France. Parreno rose to prominence in the 1990s, earning critical acclaim for his work, which employs a diversity of media including film, sculpture, performance and text. Throughout his work there is a constant questioning of the relationship of the formation of images and the modes by which the image is exhibited. Through combining previously created works and his own unique vision, the narrative structure of his work creates an interesting juxtaposition between creation and re-creation.

Philippe Parreno studied Math from 1981 to 1983. He then went on and studied from 1983 to 1988 at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Grenoble. Later his studies continued at the Institut des Hautes Etudes en arts plastiques in Palais de Tokyo, Paris in 1989. Philippe Parreno has shown at at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco and the Kunstverein Münich. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art New York (MoMA), the Walker Art Center (USA), the Centre Georges Pompidou (France), the Paris Museum of Modern Art (France), the Guggenheim Museum New York (USA), the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco and the Museum of the 21st Century (Japan).

In May 1995 Philippe Parreno created a production that challenged the terms and ideas of ‘production’ itself. On May 1st, he invited a number of friends and artists to a studio to participate in creating T-shirts and teddy bears, reminiscent of a factory line up. The Teddy Bears were of the "My First Secret Teddy Bear" brand. These Teddies record the voices of the little kids who speak into them, a recording that can be accessed by pushing on one of the bears, paws. This time the teddies played back fragments of conversations and background noise that had inadvertently been taped by the actual workers who had created them. This process was a way of challenging multiple notions of work, fetish, and play. Through asking friends to work on May Day he embraced a celebration of exploitation, in a uniquely hypocritical way. In some ways this work can be thought of as ways of providing alternatives to the nature of assembly-line work, through an embracing of the power of one’s own living labor, which can be seen as similar to the concept as elaborated in Empire by Antoni Negri and Michael Hardt.

Philippe Parreno is a unique and visionary filmmaker. In Invisibleboy (2010), the viewer is delved deep into a world of both fantasy and reality where the boundaries between fiction and documentary began to blur. The movie features the story of an illegal Chinese immigrant boy who sees imaginary monsters that are scratched onto the film stock. June 8, 1968 (2009) portrays the train voyage that transported the corpse of assassinated senator Robert Kennedy from New York to Washington D.C. Kennedy’s invisible body and the Invisibleboy are characters that float between several layers of reality. Set in Asia, The Boy from Mars (2003) follows dimming points of light and reflections of the sun, before lingering on buffalo tied to a purpose-built structure containing an electricity-generating machine that provides the power required to make the film. Philippe Parreno collaborated with Scottish artist and filmmaker Douglas Gordan in 2006 to create Zidane, A 21st Century Portrait. The film was a feature length documentary produced by Universal International. Inspired by the Hellmuth Costard film Football as Never Before (1970), Gordon and Parreno aimed to use new technologies to recreate the immediate feeling of the Costard film. In the Costard film he used 16mm film to follow Machester United legend Goerge Best, in real time, for the course of an entire game against Coventry City.

Philippe Parreno has directed many films including: 8 Juin 1968. (8 mn, 2009), The Writer. (3 mn 58 s, 2007), with Douglas Gordon Zidane, un portrait du 21e siècle. (Anna Lena Films. 2006), with Rirkrit Tiravanija Stories are Propaganda. (8mn 29s. 2005), with Liam Gillick Briannnnnn & Ferryyyyyy. (Animated movie, 30mn. 2004), Boy From Mars. (10mn 39s. 2003), El Sueno De Una Cosa. (2001. 35 mm, 1mn.), Anywhere Out of the World. (2000, 3D animated movie, (installation), 4mn.), Vicinato II. (2000), with Charles de Meaux. Le pont du trieur. (Anna Sanders Films. 1999), Some Products. (1998. video / installation 3:10mn), Zoe. (1996. video 4mn), OU/Or. video / installation, (7mn, 1996), Vincinato I. (1995), Cinemascope. (1994), L'Homme Public. (1995), Anna. (vidéo, 4 mn, 1994), La nuit des héros. (Les Films du Requin. 1994. 35mm film, 13mn), Snaking. (1992), No More Reality. (1991) and No More Reality. (1991. video, 38 mn).

Philippe Parreno is the author of several publications including: Philippe Parreno. (JRP|Ringier. October 31, 2009), with Hans Ulrich Obrist. Hans Ulrich Obrist & Philippe Parreno: The Conversation Series. (Walther Konig. March 1, 2008), Philippe Parreno. (2004), Parade ? (Editions du Centre Pompidou. 2009), Suicide in vermillon sands. (Friedrich Petzel Gallery. 2008), All Hawaii entrées / Lunar reggae. (Irish Museum of Modern Art. 2006.), Philippe Parreno: Fade to Black. (MFC-Michele Didier. March 1, 2006), The boy from Mars. (CCA Kitakyushu. 2004), Alien Affection. (Paris Musées. 2002), Speech Bubbles. (Les Presses du Réel. 2001), [Was Nun?] (Schipper und Krome. 1997), Snow Dancing. (GW Press Ltd. 1995). He has also published the following chapters in books: “An Interview with Pierre Boulez." in: Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky (Editor). Sound Unbound. (MIT Press. 2008), "Fantôme de Sitcom." in: Rirkrit Tiravanija : Une rétrospective (Tomorrow is Another Fine Day). (Paris musées. 2005), "Bjork." in: Björk. (Bloomsbury USA. 2001), "Pièces versées au contentieux relatif au temps libre (Evidences to be submitted to the free time litigation)." in: Kunstverein München (Editor). Pierre Huyghe. (Kunsthalle Zürich, Seccesion Wien, Le Consortium Dijon. 2001), "My days are shorter than your t-shirt." in: Olafur Eliasson: Surroundings Surrounded: Essays on Space and Science. (The MIT Press. January 1, 2002) and "tʼs me and the system..." in: Jörn Schafaff (Editor). Jorge Pardo: What Does This Object Do? (Hatje Cantz Verlag. 2000).

Philippe Parreno was a professor at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where he conducted an Intensive Summer Seminar with Hans Ulrich Obrist.