Pierre Huyghe & Philippe Parreno



Collection: Collection Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.

In 1999, French artists Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno paid around $400 to a specialist graphics studio in Japan for a Manga figure, including schematic drawings and the intellectual rights. It was a rather cheap, nondescript figure, without elaborated details, intended only for a quite secondary role in an animated film, a comic strip or a computer game. As an initial motive, the artists wished to liberate AnnLee - as they named her - from the marketplace of commercial fiction.

“We looked for a character and we found this one. A character without a name, a two-dimensional image, with no turn-around. A character without a biography and without qualities, very cheap, which had that melancholic look, as if it were conscious of the fact that its capacity to survive stories was very limited.”

Next, they had a 3D version of AnnLee take on the leading role in two video pieces, where the character reflects upon herself as product and as image that makes her tale. In a subsequent phase, sixteen artists were given the original drawings and authorization to cast AnnLee in the widest array of forms, under the umbrella title No Ghost Just a Shell. And while she always retains just enough traits to remain recognizable, AnnLee undergoes a constant alteration of likenesses. These metamorphoses importantly contribute to the postmodern story she has to tell.

Via twenty-eight individual artworks - videos, paintings, posters, books, objects, a vinyl record and a neon sculpture - the story of her quest for freedom further unfolds. Ultimately, in 2002, Huyghe and Parreno put a halt to further reproduction by transferring the copyright back to the product 'herself,' AnnLee.

In El Hotel Eléctrico, various works are presented from artists who collaborated on this AnnLee project: Bulloch & Wagener, Curlet, Fleury, Gillick, Gonzalez-Foerster, Joseph & Kacem, M/M, Ohanian, Phillips, Scanlan, Tiravanija, Vaney, as well as Huyghe and Parreno themselves.


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