Similarly manipulating the viewer’s perceptual and psychologocal experience was the artist’s exhibition at Esther Schipper. Here, Parreno had assembled a panoply of items throughout the gallery: helium-inflated foil balloons in the shapes of fish and sharks, a player piano, electrical plugs and adapters arranged into sculptures, LED lights, fluorescent lights, an Arne Jacobsen floor lamp, and a large pile of artificial snow. Borrowing from the French philosopher Michel Serres, Parreno calls these items “quasi-objects,” a term Serres uses to describe the dependency of such things on their environments. Many of them, for instance, drew attention to the walls on which they literally depended, whether the pile of snow in one corner or the morass of mounted neon lights and transformers wrapped around another. Throughout, one heard the constant buzz of electricity—an unnerving tone that seemed to transform the sanitized space into a pulsating dystopia.
A version of this story originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of ARTnews on page 92.