2017 Nasher Prize Laureate Pierre Huyghe has profoundly expanded the parameters of sculpture through artworks encompassing a variety of materials and disciplines, bringing cinema, music, and dance into contact with science and philosophy and incorporating time-based elements as diverse as microclimates, ice, rituals, parades, robotics, computer programs, games, dogs, bees, or microorganisms. As part of the celebrations surrounding Nasher Prize, the Nasher Sculpture Center presents two important works by the artist: an active marine ecosystem and a living sculpture.
Many contemporary artists work with unconventional materials and in a variety of media, but Huyghe has consistently sought new ways to bring them together into a practice exceeding the sum of its multifarious parts. Says Huyghe, “To start [a work], I always need to create a world. Then [I] enter this world, and that walk through this world is the work.” The works Huyghe creates become in turn evolving worlds that others can walk through, encountering an aggregation of living entities and environments that can range from intellectually provocative to hauntingly beautiful. If a traditional definition of sculpture is an object experienced in space over time, Huyghe’s practice expands the possibility of the three central precepts of this definition—object, space, and time. Huyghe’s achievements have deeply affected our understanding of sculpture’s possibilities even as he explores new venues for his own work, delving into urgent issues raised by technology and media—identity, representation, community, knowledge—as well as enduring questions regarding time, influences, exhibition ritual, the role of the artist, and our connections to otherness.