Untitled (Human Mask)


Film, colour, stereo, sound, 2:66.

19min. 7sec.

A leading figure on the French and international art scene since the early 1990s, Pierre Huyghe was born in Paris in 1962. His film (Untitled) Human Mask (2014) features a monkey wearing a mask inspired by the tradition of Noh theatre. The monkey wears a woman’s wig and walks around an abandoned restaurant in the supposed environs of Fukushima. Made famous by a YouTube video called Fukuchan Monkey in Wig, Mask, Works Restaurant!, the monkey really does work as a waiter in a Tokyo restaurant. Fascinated by the humanity of the monkey moving between the tables, Huyghe transposed the “server" to an almost dystopian world where, the artist says, "the trapped animal plays the game of the human condition, endlessly repeating a subconscious role." Time is a key part of Huyghe's creative approach to his films and exhibitions, which he conceives of as works of art in their own right.

Excerpt from the mediation booklet for the "Accrochage" ("Hanging") show, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2016.