Pierre Huyghe: Variants – Announcements

Kistefos proudly presents variants by the French artist Pierre Huyghe (1962, Paris) as the 50th work in the sculpture park. variants is a site-specific work created especially for Kistefos. It is Huyghe’s largest permanent work to date and the most ambitious commission for the Kistefos sculpture park to date.

The work includes artificial intelligence, 3D scanned objects, living things and organisms and offers something very unique to the sculpture park. variants is located on a previously inaccessible island that is often under water. The location was specifically chosen by Pierre Huyghe and required a significant expansion of the landscape and Kistefos as a whole.


Scanned forest, real-time simulation, generative mutations and sounds, intelligent camera, environmental sensors, animals, plants, microorganisms and materialized mutations: synthetic and biological material aggregate.

variants is a multipolar entity that perceives, generates and modifies. It is simultaneously an island and what that island could be in an alternate reality.

The island has been scanned to become the environment of a live simulation. The two environments, physical and digital, are permeable.

A fictional story provides a set of rules and clues, played by an artificial neural network that generates unpredictable mutations in the simulation, of what is on the island, animate or inanimate, sounds or things, such as trees, garbage, animals, or people .

As contingent and fluctuating events take place within the island, in its geochemical or biological activity, the mutations generated change behavior in real time and the returning floodwaters accelerate their growth. The intelligences hosted by the spectral space are in an unresolved sympoiesis and a permanent crisis.

Occasionally, mutations leave the simulation and physically manifest on the island where they persist or decay, contaminating existing reality with an unknown possibility of their own, and gradually altering the island’s appearance.

A path across the island leads to a screen where the simulated environment is navigated by an autonomous and fearful eye, witnessing the ever-changing nature of the island.

When the flood floods the island, it becomes inaccessible. But whether compelling or impenetrable, the indifferent entity continues.

Pierre Huyghe organic
Pierre Huyghe was born in Paris in 1962 and lives and works in New York. His work is internationally known and is presented in various exhibitions around the world.

Over his 25-year career and in many different media, Huyghe has developed an artistic practice that explores the complex and often contradictory ways in which humans relate to the natural world and its intelligent and often unfathomable systems. Huyghe has incorporated living animals, plants and insects as components in many of his visionary projects. Through his various networks of objects and ideas, Huyghe explores the paradoxical gap between what we think we know about the world and what it in turn can and cannot tell us.

For Huyghe, the exhibition ritual is not an asymmetrical experience, but an encounter with a conscious milieu, which perceives, generates new possibilities of co-dependence between events or elements that unfold. The exhibition is an entity whose time and space in which it appears are the components of its manifestation. His works are conceived as scenarios, excesses of fiction and often present themselves as continuity between a wide range of intelligent life forms, biological, technological and tangible inert matter that learn, modify and evolve. They are permeable, contingent and often indifferent to witnesses.

Recent exhibitions include: After UUmweltLuma Foundation, Arles (2021); UUmweltSerpentine Gallery, London (2018); The Roof Garden, Metropolitan Museum, New York (2015). In 2012-2014, a major retrospective of Huyghe’s work traveled from the Center Pompidou (France) to the Ludwig Museum (Germany) and to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

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