Philippe Parreno (b. 1964) is well known for his numerous collaborations with artist friends such as Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Pierre Huyghe, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Carsten Höller or Inez van Lamsweerde, with architects such as Francois Roche or designers like M/M. In his works, he always searches for ways to evoke a rethinking of the common models of exhibitions, authorship and narration.

For his installation at Portikus, Philippe Parreno again takes up the principle of co-operation but in a new way. Under the title "El Sueño de Una Cosa", the artist presents the sequence of a fictitious Robert Rauschenberg retrospective. A group of large-format, white monochrome paintings by Rauschenberg from 1951 is displayed. Rauschenberg himself had described these pictures as an "emergency", "not being Art because they take you to place in painting art has not been" (in a letter to Betty Parson). It is completely up to the viewer to read something into the white canvases or project something onto them. And John Cage, who was inspired by these pictures, among others, to compose his famous piece 4'3'', describes them as "airports for light, shadows and particles".

Philippe Parreno takes up these statements in his installation in a very direct manner. He presents the paintings in a classical exhibition situation, but then the space darkens, and a film by Philippe Parreno is projected onto Rauschenberg's pictures. The 1-minute film was shot on a Norwegian island near the North Pole, and the timeless landscape shots are accompanied by the beginning of Edgar Varese's composition "Desert" from 1954. While the music and the images only hint at a narrative dramaturgy, the film attains its narrative qualities through its contextualization, as interruption of an institutional exhibition, and through the construction of meaning by the viewer. By superimposing a distant dream landscape in the wan midnight sun on the white monochrome surface, Rauschenberg's "emergency" is overcome in an ironic and poetic way. Parreno is therefore less interested in the film as a result, but rather as a narrative instrument that reveals new contexts depending on the form in which it is presented. The temporary replacement of the exhibition space by a cinema additionally questions the institutions of the white cube and the cinematographic black box in regard to their neutrality.

The exhibition is supported by the AFAA - Bureau des Arts Plastiques in Germany / French Embassy and Ritter Sport