Fade to Black
  • artists' book
  • pictorial wrappers
  • screenprint
  • spiral bound
  • 34 x 24 cm.
  • [32] pp.
  • edition size 520
  • unsigned and unnumbered
  • ISBN 2930439017

Fade to Black

Philippe Parreno

Fade to Black


FADE TO BLACK is the generic title for a series of artistic projects that were triggered by Philippe Parreno since 1995. The artist is the initiator, but he pursues such projects sometimes alone, sometimes in collaboration with other artists such as Liam Gillick or Rirkrit Tiravanija. We could see FADE TO BLACK's images on display in poster format, at the Biennale of Lyon of 2003 and at Munich's Kunstverein, in early 2004, in the exhibition titled FADE AWAY. As time goes by, FADE TO BLACK appears as a polymorphic sum, always apt at modifying itself.

FADE TO BLACK gathers eleven titled images, which are detachable. Each of them documents an artistic proposal. Each image constitutes the footprint, the testimony to an action or ephemeral installation by Philippe Parreno. For instance we find the “Ice Man” image, a snowman man sculpted in an ice block, placed by the artist in a Tokyo garden, and replaced every day once the ice had melted. Or two dummies made in the image of Parreno and Tiravanija which, once animated by a ventriloquist, allow the two artists to exchange words and talk through the other. FADE TO BLACK pictures them in a both farcical and disturbing fashion. Or this photograph of the entrance to an amusement park in South Africa, themed on “reality”, where one can read “Welcome to Reality Park” written on a rock in giant letters.

FADE TO BLACK is a “bedside book” that can only be browsed in the dark. The images inside are printed with phosphorescent ink and must be first “exposed” to light to become visible. This very light, stored within the matter itself, frees itself up in the obscurity and then reveals the image. It is however doomed to disappear as the quantity of reflected light is limited to its time of exposure. A specific time lapse is thus associated with the existence of the image. For Philippe Parreno, time constitues an artistic material of choice, as also shown by this document testifying that in 1993, Rirkrit Tiravanija gave him one month of his life...

The printing process itself echoes Philippe Parreno's artistic approach, based on the mode of interactivity, and there is something playful in the way of reading and discovering the book's contents. On the other hand, Parreno's “poetic insight” creates a close intimacy between the reader and the object, forcing him to expose the work to light before deciphering it in a dark corner.

FADE TO BLACK therefore exists without being visible at that – it is an evanescence that finally materializes it, and with a cheek in tongue...

Fade to Black was the Specific Object 2005 Publication of the Year.

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Brussels, Belgium: mfc - Michèle Didier,