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A monkey wearing an outfit and mask of a young woman's face.
(Untitled) Human Mask (film still), 2014, © Pierre Huyghe. Full image credit below*

Film, Talks & Performances

Presented by TarraWarra Museum of Art in association with ACMI

Untitled (Human Mask)


19 Oct

The animate and inanimate worlds in the work of French artist Pierre Huyghe will be showcased in a special encore screening of his remarkable new film, Untitled (Human Mask). This event is presented by Tarrawarra Museum of Art as part of the exhibition Pierre Huyghe: TarraWarra International 2015.

  • Described by Frieze as exploring "something profoundly real about [our] assumed superiority... over nature and about the ethics of using animals to satisfy very human needs", Untitled (Human Mask) is inspired by a real situation in Japan in which a monkey - wearing the mask of a young woman - has been trained to work as a waitress. The film opens with footage of the deserted site of Fukushima in 2011, the camera functioning as a drone scaling the wreckage. This is followed by scenes of the monkey alone in her habitat, silhouetted against the empty, dark restaurant. In this dystopian setting, an animal acts out the human condition, trapped, endlessly repeating her unconscious role.

    Pierre Huyghe was born in Paris, France in 1962. He studied at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris from 1982 – 1985. A major retrospective of his work was shown at LACMA, Los Angeles in November 2014, following presentations at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France and Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany, and he has held numerous solo exhibitions at leading institutions across the globe.

    In 2013 Huyghe was awarded the Roswitha Haftmann Prize in Zurich, Switzerland. He was also the recipient of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Contemporary Artist Award (2010), the Hugo Boss Prize (2002), the Special Jury Prize awarded by 49th Venice Binenale (2001) and received the DAAD Artist in Residence grant in Berlin (1999 – 2000).

    Huyghe is represented by Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; Esther Schipper Gallery, Berlin; Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; and Hauser & Wirth, London.

    Pierre Huyghe: TarraWarra International 2015
    29 August – 22 November 2015.

    This program has also received support from the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, Museums & Galleries of NSW, Institut Français and the Embassy of France in Australia.

     Presented by:

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    *Image credit: (Untitled) Human Mask (film still), 2014. Film, colour, stereo, sound, 2:66. Running time: 19 minutes. Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth, London and Anna Lena Films, Paris