Parallel Presents

Parallel Presents

The Art of Pierre Huyghe

By Amelia Barikin

The first book-length art historical examination of a major contemporary French artist.





The first book-length art historical examination of a major contemporary French artist.

Over the past two decades, French artist Pierre Huyghe has produced an extraordinary body of work in constant dialogue with temporality. Investigating the possibility of a hypothetical mode of timekeeping—“parallel presents”—Huyghe has researched the architecture of the incomplete, directed a puppet opera, founded a temporary school, established a pirate television station, staged celebrations, scripted scenarios, and journeyed to Antarctica in search of a mythological penguin. In this first book-length art historical examination of Huyghe and his work, Amelia Barikin traces the artist's continual negotiation with the time codes of contemporary society. Barikin finds in Huyghe's projects an alternate way of thinking about history—a “topological historicity” that deprograms (or reprograms) temporal formats. Barikin offers pioneering analyses of Huyghe's lesser-known early works as well as sustained readings of later, critically acclaimed projects, including No Ghost Just a Shell (2000), L'Expédition scintillante (2002), and A Journey That Wasn't (2005). She emphasizes Huyghe's concepts of “freed time” and “the open present,” in which anything might happen.

Bringing together an eclectic array of subjects and characters—from moon walking to situationist practices, from Snow White to Gilles Deleuze—Parallel Presents offers a highly original account of the driving forces behind Huyghe's work.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262017800 278 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 57 color illus., 28 b&w illus.


$34.95 T ISBN: 9780262528382 278 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 57 color illus., 28 b&w illus.


  • Barikin skillfully negotiates the curious entanglements of Huyghe's positioning, rarely fixed yet frequently fascinating.

    Martin Patrick



  • There is little doubt that Pierre Huyghe is one of the most important artists of the last twenty years. In this first monograph devoted to the artist, Amelia Barikin provides a striking road map through a dense oeuvre, showing Huyghe to be involved in a thorough-going reconsideration—a reinvention—of the problem of art's relationship to time.

    George Baker

    University of California, Los Angeles; author of The Artwork Caught by the Tail

  • An elegant and readable road-map of the complex creative territory that is Pierre Huyghe. This no mean feat, as Amelia Barikin's subject belongs to a generation of artists whose work is protean to the extreme. As such, Parallel Presents is indispensable not only for our understanding of Huyghe, but also for the ideas and other artists on today's cutting-edge.

    Simon Morley

    editor of The Sublime


  • Winner, 2013 Best Book Prize given by the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand