Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Alienarium 5
What if aliens were to fall in love with us? What would it change, why and how?
Serpentine South Gallery, London
April 14 – September 04, 2022
Serpentine is delighted to present Alienarium 5, a major exhibition by leading artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. On display at Serpentine South from 14 April until 4 September 2022, this is the artist’s first major institutional solo show in the UK since TH.2058 at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2008.
Following a long line of projects such as Cosmodrome at Le Consortium in 2001 (Dijon, France), Chronotypes & Dioramas at Dia Art Foundation (New York, 2009), Pynchon Park at MAAT (Lisbon, 2017) and Martian Dreams Ensemble at GFZK (Leipzig, 2018), Alienarium 5 is a vision resulting from over twenty years of Gonzalez-Foerster’s explorations into science-fiction and alien life, and her experiments in deep space. Conceived specifically for Serpentine, the exhibition will feature almost entirely new work engaging both the gallery’s internal and external spaces. Alienarium 5 is a speculative environment in which to imagine possible encounters with extra-terrestrials. Approaching the park, visitors will come across a statue in remembrance of the coming alien developed by the artist together with writer and philosopher, Paul B. Preciado. Visible from outside the gallery will be Holorama, a new work created together this time with Perez, a musician and Gonzalez-Foerster’s co-conspirator for Exotourisme, a musical project begun in 2018 which built upon an earlier exhibition of the same title presented at the Centre Pompidou in 2002.
The space inside the gallery will be transformed into an immersive sensory environment, incorporating visual, sonic, olfactory, tactile and live engagements that expand the audience’s ability to imagine alternative forms of life and alien encounters. In the artist’s words, the exhibition can be thought of as a ‘mutant place contributing to the invention of new technologies of consciousness, while also functioning as ‘an anti-War of the Worlds’ vision. The installation includes a 360-degree panorama, a scent collaboration with Barnabé Fillion of Arpa Studios, and a new VR piece that, following on from her critically-acclaimed Endodrome presented at the 2019 Venice Biennale, marks the artist’s second VR work produced by VIVE Arts, and developed by Lucid Realities. Inspired by Serpentine’s historical position as a tea house and site of rendez-vous, as well as by past exhibitions at the gallery by Emma Kunz and Hilma af Klimt that looked at the relationship between art and spiritualism, Gonzalez-Foerster’s project proposes a visionary space of connection. Serving as a meeting point for friends from the past, future and a time not yet named, Alienarium 5 encourages people to come together with love for one another and for visitors from outer space. In the creation of this supernatural environment, the artist prompts us to ask: What if aliens were in love with us? What would change, why and how?
Bettina Korek, CEO, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine, say: “Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster is an artist synonymous with experimentation, whose career has spanned decades of research into sensorial and existential dimensions of human life. As such, we are honoured that she has accepted our invitation to create a bold, immersive environment that we hope will change the ways that those who experience it think, see and feel. It is with great anticipation that we look forward to inviting audiences to encounter her phenomenological ‘miseen-espace,’ to quote the artist herself.” An exhibition catalogue co-published by Serpentine and Koenig is forthcoming and will comprise conversations with and contributions by artists, musicians, architects, writers and thinkers across time and space. Forming part of the Live Programme for Alienarium 5, live apparitions will appear at various points throughout the duration of the exhibition.