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No Ghost Just A Shell

Angela Bulloch and Imke Wagener, François Curlet, Lili Fleury, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Pierre Huyghe, Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno, Pierre Joseph and Medhi Belhaj Kacem, M/M (Paris),  Melik Ohanian, Richard Phillips, Joe Scanlan, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Anna-Léna Vaney

《No Ghost Just a Shell》 Installation View, 2024. Photo: Sangtae Kim, Courtesy Seoul Museum of Art

SeMA, Buk-Seoul Museum of Art (General Director, CHOI Eunju) presents No Ghost Just a Shell, an exhibition about the historic project with the same title, initiated by Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno in 1999.

Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno, Skin of Light, 2001, neon, 80×58×ca. 4.5cm. Collection Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

The two artists acquired the rights to an undisclosed background character inexpensively from a Japanese manga design agency. They named the imaginary character, Annlee, and began to fill her life stories. For the next three years, about 20 artists participated in this project, giving birth to over 30 multimedia works in the form of paintings, sculptures, videos, posters, books, and music. These works came to be put together in the exhibition titled No Ghost Just a Shell in 2002. It is both a collection of individual works, and a multiauthor project around a single character. The title originated from Ghost in the Shell, the 1995 Japanese animation that raises a question as to whether there is human consciousness, soul, or ghost, in the cyborg, i.e., inside the shell of a cybernetic body.

François Curlet, Witness Screen, 2002, single-channel video, colour, sound, 5min. Collection Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

Afterwards Huyghe and Parreno transferred her copyright to the character itself by founding an association in her name; and in December 2002, they decided to liberate Annlee from the “kingdom of representation” and staged a display of fireworks above Miami Beach in Art Basel, through which they declared Annlee vanished for good. Annlee was emancipated and sentenced to death at once, but No Ghost Just a Shell in its entirety became a collection of Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. This acquisition was ground-breaking in terms of revisiting the relationships of ideas, mediums, forms and rights in art.

Joe Scanlan, Do It Yourself Dead on Arrival (AnnLee), 2002, BILLY bookcase parts(IKEA), DIY manual, funeral bouquet, dimensions variable. Collection Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

20 years or so after its inception, the historic project has now grown all the more in importance in 2024. This exhibition at SeMA, organized with the collections of Van Abbemuseum, includes the works of 14 artists (teams), which will be an opportunity to engage with their questions again after over two decades, still very much relevant today. It will present interesting but critical perspectives on today’s postdigital era where technological environments like generative artificial intelligence are significantly changing the ways art is produced, and are prompting digital images that exist as data to evolve on their own as subjects having emotions, personality, and identity.

Buk-Seoul Museum of Art (1F)
1238, Dongil-ro, Nowon-gu, Seoul, republic of Korea