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A mutant landscape deployed on a large screen, abandoned rusty wrecks, pink mutant swarms clinging to the trees, and other strange organic excrescences appearing, here and there, at the detours of the often flooded paths… Fascinating mise en abîme of the landscape and the surrounding nature, but above all, of the perpetual metamorphosis of the living world, the half-organic, half-digital work in progress implemented in the sculpture park of the Kistefos Museum, in Norway, by Pierre Huyghe allows us to see, beyond the real, the possibilities of the real modified by artificial intelligence.

Thus, in his fascinating mutant landscape, entitled Variants, he mixes reality and fiction with a virtuosity capable of disturbing our perception. Resulting from a true symbiosis between the living and the simulacrum, nature and its avatar – the moving and changing image generated in real time in situ – this digital landscape is deployed on a large screen installed in the middle of the trees, at the end of a path crossing one of these improbable places, located between the land and the water of Norway, like a window opened on another world, a world in gestation, similar to the undetermined world of the dreams…  

The 50th work created for the sculpture park of the incredible Kistefos Museum in Jevnaker (north of Oslo), Pierre Huyghe’s generative landscape stands out among the sculptures and installations of Anish Kapoor, Claes Oldenburg, Olafur Eliasson, Jeppe Hein, and Tony Cragg. Catching our glance by its incessant and fascinating mutability, it seems to plunge us in another dimension, that of the indetermination, and make us pass to the other side of the mirror, in an alternative reality. 

Mixing the real and the virtual in a permanent interaction, the work, implanted below the park, in a previously inaccessible and often flooded islet, allows us to see a landscape and its digital simulacrum subjected to mutations generated in real time, in a random way, by an “artificial intelligence” subjected to the stimulations of environmental sensors; the elements of the living world (noises, movements, fluctuation of the water…) coming thus to alter the virtual world, before this last one contaminates in its turn the real one. Stemming from the 3D printing of the generative mutations of the digital landscape (continuously metamorphosing the scanned image of the site), mutant forms and unidentified creatures (sponge or metal excrescences, swarms and denatured bones…) emerge on the ground or clump in the trees. 3D objects themselves promised to the alterations of time and temperature…  

A disturbing extension of the real landscape via its digital avatar, of a physical environment (mixing the living and the inert) through its artificially modified double, by the game of chance and the infinite metamorphoses proper to the virtual world… simulating, in situ and in vivo, the possible variations of a living world constantly evolving itself… 

Hybridizing this living world, in turn frozen, snowy, submerged… perpetually moving, with its virtual metamorphoses reproduced in 3D to be aggregated with the natural elements, Variants implements a double “self-generation” – that of the virtual by the living and of the living by the virtual, in a permanent flip-flop movement – all the more disturbing as it is unpredictable. If most of the “mutant expansions” implanted on the site can be assimilated to artefacts, it is not the same for the bony excrescences aggregated to the reindeer skeleton lying and decomposing on the ground, and even less for the bees that have colonized the pink postichous swarms hanging from the branches…

When a work in progress transgressing, or rather, annihilating, the borders of the real and the virtual, makes us see, with an attention increased by the subversion of the forms, the reality such as it is and such as it could be… 

Kristefos – Museum of Modern Art

41, Jevnaker, Samsmoveien, Norway

Until October 16th 

@Pierre Kistefos @Ola Rindal

Stéphanie Dulout


116 rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris

Phone : +33 (0)1 42 71 20 22

Fax : +33 (0)1 42 71 00 11

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