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Pierre Huyghe's "ultra-exclusive ephemeral happening"


From the “you can’t make this stuff up” department, Pierre Huyghe and French architect François Roche recently invited an exclusive group of art collectors to take a hundred-year-old train deep into the Swiss alps to watch a minute-long performance piece. Thankfully for all of us plebeians, the NY Times style section was there to cover the whole thing. They didn’t skimp on the sartorial details:

Roche, a slightly unkempt 54-year-old, wore black ski pants, a puffer jacket and sunglasses. He had requested that everyone wear dark colors, but Pace arrived at the station in a light blue turtleneck and a long cape. “I was so sleepy this morning that I forgot, but I have my cape like this,” he said, and wrapped himself in the garment. The architect Norman Foster, a part-time St. Moritz resident, seemed to have forgotten too, and was dressed in white corduroys and a cream turtleneck. Another conspicuous presence was Lamy, who had spent the morning assembling boxed lunches with food by the Swiss chef Andreas Caminada. (Lamy used to operate Les Deux Cafés in Los Angeles.) Easily recognizable by her diamond-studded teeth, Lamy wore a coat made up of brown and black tentacles that looked like a small animal had wrapped itself around her torso.

After everyone boarded the small, three-wagon train, Lacadee issued what sounded like stage directions for an improv class: “You’re all passengers going to the sanatorium and your only subject of discussion will be your own disease, physical or psychological.” On board were two hired actors, Véronique Mermoud and Matthieu Kobilinsky. Roche said Kobilinsky would be playing “an old teenager in the castration clamp of his mother” and that today was “the day of his weaning.”…

A moment later, we came to the real thing: a large-scale reproduction of the MacGuffin, installed in the middle of the Lej Nair. For a few seconds no one was quite sure what to look for. Then Kobilinsky appeared out in the snow. He was completely naked and he was walking toward the structure. It was a wild sight. Not just the naked man staggering through a wide expanse of snowy nothingness, but the group of esteemed collectors crowding the windows like eager schoolchildren. When Kobilinsky reached the crystal igloo and began to crawl inside, agonizing screams started emanating from somewhere outside the train. (Vermoud was providing the sound effects.) And then Kobilinsky was inside and the wailing stopped. And that was it. The train began to pull away.

Above image by Aurélien Chauvaud. Via NY Times.