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Philippe Parreno, 'Speechbubbles' balloons, 1997-now (photo© Andrea Rossetti)

Philippe Parreno, ‘Speechbubbles’ balloons, 1997-now (photo © Andrea Rossetti)

This major exhibition by French artist Philippe Parreno (1964), occupying the Museum’s entire building is conceived around the idea of the counterpoint, or ritornello, a principle whereby a particular passage is repeated at regular interludes within a musical arrangement to create compositional meaning, and structured on the mathematical model of the fugue. Governed by a similar method, A Time Coloured Space is determined not by its “objects,” but by the regularity and rhythm of their appearance, featuring some of Parreno’s most emblematic work dating back to the 1990s.

Throughout his practice, Parreno has redefined the exhibition experience by exploring its possibilities as a coherent “object” and a medium in its own right, rather than as a collection of individual works. To this end, he conceives his exhibitions as a scripted space in which a series of events unfold. Placed within the philosophical framework of Gilles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition (1968), each of the exhibition’s 13 rooms is a recurrence of the previous, differentiated only by variations in colour and arrangement. As the past and the future are inscribed into the present, the exhibition becomes an automaton, a factory in which to engineer these variables, and a form of imitation becomes a new invention.

Among the works that will form part of Parreno’s dramaturgy for Serralves are Speech Bubbles (1997–ongoing), Fraught Times: For Eleven Months of the Year it’s an Artwork and then December it’s Christmas (2008–16), an ongoing series of aluminium sculptures cast as snow-covered Christmas trees, and more than 180 of Parreno’s ink drawings, created between 2012 and 2015. The Auditorium of the Museum will be transformed into a form of “cinéma en permanence.”


Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
Rua D. João de Castro, 210
4150–417 Porto





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