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Philippe Parreno, Serpentine Gallery

On 17, Jan 2011 | No Comments | In Uncategorized | By admin

Standing next to a window inside the Serpentine Gallery and looking out over Kensington Gardens I listen to the exterior sounds transmitted through a loudspeaker beside me. After a while I notice a breath mark on the window and become aware of the presence of a man (I think) inhabiting this space in the moments before I arrived here. As I wait for the condensation to fade I consider who this person may have been, whose mouth was it that touched the window above the height of my head? I feel some connection with this unknown other who, like me, has paused to stand and perhaps notice the erasure of distance between the internal here and the external there.

Later, on my way home, it occurs to me that the breath mark didn’t evaporate during the time I stood there. Looking at the exhibition notes I find the following description and image of this stealthy offering:

Federico, an acid engraving on glass, was originally inspired by the house of deceased Spainish poet, Federico García Lorca. Reconfigured for the Serpentine Gallery, the glass etching, which resembles a trace of condensation, is placed where García Lorca’s breath would have appeared as he looked out upon the falling snow in Kensington Gardens.