This focused gathering of works from the Walker’s collection revolves around the ideas of adventure and discovery, dreams and imagination, as well as nature and environment. The centerpiece is the ambitious video installation A Journey That Wasn’t (2005) by Pierre Huyghe (born 1962, Paris), which takes viewers on an expedition to Antarctica in search of a lost island and its elusive inhabitant—an albino penguin. Documentation of this perilous yet thrilling voyage is interspersed with footage from a spectacular operatic light-and-sound recreation, which the artist staged as a public event in New York’s Central Park. A Journey That Wasn’t premiered at the Whitney Biennial 2006: A Day for Night, curated by Philippe Vergne and Chrissie Iles and was jointly acquired by the Whitney and the Walker in 2006. Inspired by the artist’s work, this exhibition explores the convergence of reality and fiction, memory and history, and various modes of cultural reproduction through the use of a diverse range of media, including film, video, sound, animation, sculpture, and architecture. Journeys to Nowhere also features works from the Walker’s collection that resonate with the range of complex and contemporary social topics addressed and suggested by Huyghe’s piece—in particular, humanity’s simultaneous destruction of nature and yearning for utopia.
Curators: Elizabeth Carpenter and Doryun Chong