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See Philippe Parreno's spectacle at the Park Avenue Armory

The two-and-a-half-hour installation, titled H {N)Y P N(Y} OSIS, will leave you mesmerized

The work of French artist Philippe Parreno is a bit hard to describe. It’s multi-media, sure, but also ephemeral and often wispy as dreams. Such qualities suit the artist’s main subject, which in a word is memory, as well as the conceptual complexity of an oeuvre spanning 20 years and counting. Sculpture, film, staging, music and performance are all part of the mix, in which elements made for one exhibition get rolled into the next, in a kind of nested progression where each show serves as a sort of remembrance for the previous one. Yet each is also site-specific and tailored to its location—New York, in the case of H {N)Y P N(Y} OSIS, which contains allusions to the return of Bobby Kennedy’s funeral train through upstate, and to Marilyn Monroe’s stay in a New York City hotel just a few weeks before her suicide. Life and death, light and dark are the themes touched upon by the objects and effects here, which include minimally elegant, lighted marquee sculptures (the artist’s signature) and a system of huge shades that are periodically raised to allow daylight to pierce the darkened interior of the Park Avenue Armory’s cavernous Drill Hall. Objects are illuminated and switched off, films begin and end, and live piano music stops and starts in a timed sequence lasting two and a half hours. But you don’t need to stay for it all to be enthralled by H {N)Y P N(Y} OSIS’s spellbinding charms.

Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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Photograph: Filip Wolak
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See the exhibition

Philippe Parreno, H {N)Y P N(Y} OSIS

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French artist Philippe Parreno, one of the leading lights of the neo-conceptualist Relational Aesthetic movement of the late ’90s and early oughts, is known for ephemeral installations that incorporate elements of previous installations in a kind of nesting doll progression meant to focus attention on the idea of the exhibition itself, rather than the individual works of art. The latter, however, include the artist’s signature: A light up theater marquee meant to suggest the idea of the exhibit as a performance instead of a static display.

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Thu Jun 11 - Sun Aug 2

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