Installation view of the exhibition Pierre Huyghe at the Centre Georges Pompidou, September 2013–January 2014, © Pierre Huyghe, courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris, photo by Pierre Huyghe

Human, Pierre Huyghe’s Dog-in-Residence

November 26, 2014
Linda Theung, Editor

Drop by the Resnick Pavilion at LACMA in the next three months, and you might notice a few unusual elements in the exhibition Pierre Huyghe. One of the most dynamic of them is Human, an Ibizan hound who’s also a work of art. Huyghe has long used animals and flora, ranging from fish to palms to even deer, in his work. The living components in Huyghe's work add to the fact that nothing remains static—both sum of parts (the discrete objects) and whole (the exhibition itself) constantly shift based on the rhythms expressed in the space.

“I don't see things remaining in a frozen state. Things can always re-negotiate, they grow, disappear and reappear in a different state. Their exhibition might be intermittent but their existence keeps evolving. It's a blinking situation, a pulse, like the rhythm of seasons. A plant appears at a certain moment, the next year it might reappear further away and has changed its colors or shape slightly. For the protagonists or animals that cross my work it's the same. They are here, they go away for few years and then reappear connecting with something else. I don't believe in a sense of an end of something, they aren't monuments. In that regard I see the works as a garden," says Huyghe.

Installation view of the exhibition Pierre Huyghe at the Centre Georges Pompidou, September 2013–January 2014, © Pierre Huyghe, courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris, photo by Pierre Huyghe

He continues: "To a certain extent, I have always used animals in my work . . . I became fascinated by the work in progress. I realized that what I was more and more attracted to was the aspect that was undetermined. You frame a rule, set the conditions, but you cannot define how a given entity will interact with another . . . I don’t want to exhibit something to someone any more. I want to do the reverse: I want to exhibit someone to something.”

In light of Human's presence at LACMA, here are the need-to-know points about her participation, lifestyle, and the best ways to appreciate her when you visit the exhibition.

—Human is a five-year-old Ibizan hound and has collaborated with Pierre Huyghe since she was rescued from a shelter approximately three years ago. She is comfortable in and familiar with the environs of a gallery. She has appeared in previous iterations of this exhibition in France and Germany.

—We respectfully ask that visitors refrain from touching, petting, or otherwise disturbing her.

Pierre Huyghe, Untilled, 2014, film courtesy the artist; Hauser & Wirth, London; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; Esther Schipper, Berlin; Anna Lena, Paris, © Pierre Huyghe

—Human has been examined by a local veterinarian as well as by the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services and SPCA Los Angeles, and has been found to be in excellent health. A permit for her inclusion in the exhibition is on file.

—An Ibizan hound is characterized by its single-layer coat. Fur coats spread throughout the gallery are for Human’s comfort.

—The American Kennel Club describes the body of this breed to be “deep and long with the breastbone sharply angled and prominent. The ribs are slightly sprung.” The dog’s appearance is completely normal per the AKC’s standards.

—When Human is in the gallery, there is a handler always present as well. Human knows her handler well and is very comfortable in the space. The handler makes sure all of Human’s needs are met.

—Human comes and goes with her handler as she pleases—she is never required to be in the gallery at any particular time. If she desires to go for a walk, to eat, or to rest, she does so. We are extremely sensitive to her needs.

—Human has a private room for respite.

Human enjoying L.A.'s sunshine (away from winter in Europe!).