Pierre Huyghe

A Journey That Wasn't

Not on view



Super 16mm film and video installation, color, sound, 21:41 min., transferred to video

Overall: 154 × 273 1/2 × 472 1/2in. (391.2 × 694.7 × 1200.2 cm)

Accession number

2/7, 2 APs

Credit line
Purchased jointly by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 2006

Rights and reproductions
© Pierre Huyghe / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Inspired by tales of uncharted islands emerging from the melting ice of the Antarctic shelf, Pierre Huyghe embarked on an expedition with a handful of artists in search of an elusive albino penguin rumored to inhabit the region. A Journey That Wasn’t combines documentation of their voyage with footage filmed from a revisualization of the experience staged by the artist (with the support of the Public Art Fund) at Wollman Ice Rink in Central Park in October 2005. For this performance, in the shadow of the New York skyline, Huyghe constructed a version of the Antarctic landscape in the heart of the city. Viewers were invited to participate in the spectacle, thereby becoming part of the event. Accompanying the visual odyssey was a forty-piece orchestra that performed live on the ice, playing a musical score composed by translating into sound the topographical data of the Antarctic island to which the artists made their expedition. The score served as the link between the journey and its representation, redoubling the work’s larger exploration of the relationship between reality and fiction.

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