Pierre Huyghe Of Ideal

Exhibited for the first time in an online version, this exhibition is a chance to experience Pierre Huyghe’s ‘mental image’ works—a product of imagination between two types of intelligences, human and artificial.

Of Ideal (still), 2019 – ongoing

Of Ideal (still), 2019 – ongoing

Of Ideal (still), 2019 – ongoing

Of Ideal

Of Ideal is a collective production of imagination, human and artificial, a continuity between different types of intelligences. Human imagination has been externalized without the subject predetermining the outcome, bypassing all modes of expression such as language or the senses, and is visualized using a brain-computer interface. What has been imagined by a person is made visible using an artificial neural network that learns and progressively reconstructs mental images from brain activity. Of Ideal (2019) is a set of personal recurring memories, situations, given as material to be imagined.

‘Even only as reconstruction, to capture the life of human and artificial imagination, by generating infinite possibility of its appearance’—Pierre Huyghe

Mental Images

The attempts of the network to recognize the mental images, as a process rather than a final optimization, is presented here as raw material on LED screens. The materialized mental images are now exposed to intelligent life forms and react to external factors that endlessly modify their plasticity. In addition, chimeric, new reconstructed images, generated in real time, infinitely incorporates features of their surroundings into their appearance. Sounds from recorded brain waves and synthetic scents are dispersed through the space.


Pierre Huyghe’s first mental image work, ‘UUmwelt’, was shown at the Serpentine in London as part of a solo exhibition. Here, a set of elementary components, building blocks of ideas, are selected for a speculative situation and given as images or descriptions to be imagined. Among them are biological entities, early prehistoric tools, machine, codes and artworks.

Curator Rebecca Lewin discusses Pierre Huyghe's 2018 exhibition ‘UUmwelt’ at Serpentine Galleries, London. Produced on the occasion of the 2018 exhibition, the accompanying publication follows the course of the development of Huyghe’s practice in the last ten years. Drawings, diagrams, plans, text and reference images, photographs and film stills chart the process of developing works, both realized and unrealized, as well as acting as markers, recording the experience of encountering them.

Pierre Huyghe in conversation with
Hans Ulrich Obrist

A conversation with Pierre Huyghe and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries to discuss Pierre Huyghe's exhibition ‘UUmwelt’, where the gallery has become a porous and contingent environment, housing different forms of cognition, emerging intelligence, biological reproduction and instinctual behaviors.

About the artist

Pierre Huyghe’s works often present themselves as speculative fiction, complex systems characterized by a wide range of life forms, inanimate things and technologies. They produce an immersive, endlessly modifying environment and generate possibilities in which humans, animals and non-beings learn, evolve and grow.

All artwork © Pierre Huyghe

Credits from top: Of Ideal, 2019-ongoing, Deep image reconstructions, real-time generated reconstructions, face recognition, screens, sensors, sound, Courtesy of the artist, TARO NASU, Marian Goodman Gallery and Hauser & Wirth © Kamitani Lab / Kyoto ; IF THE SNAKE, Okayama Art Summit, 2019, Photo: Masayuki Saito / Ola Rindal; Study for UUmwelt, Courtesy of the artist © Kamitani Lab / Kyoto University and ATR, Video courtesy: tomohiro666; UUmwelt, October 2018–February 2019; Serpentine Galleries, London, exhibition views, Deep image reconstructions, screens, sensors, sound, scents, incubator, flies, sanded wall, dust, Courtesy of the artist and Serpentine Galleries © Kamitani Lab / Kyoto University and ATR, Photo Credit: Ola Rindal; Serpentine Galleries Curator Rebecca Lewin discusses Pierre Huyghe’s exhibition UUmwelt. Courtesy and © the artist and Serpentine Galleries, London; Artist Pierre Huyghe and Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries Hans Ulrich Obrist discuss Huyghe’s exhibition UUmwelt. Courtesy and © the artist, Serpentine Galleries, London and Artsy; Artist portrait © Ola Rindal

Inquire to learn about available works by Pierre Huyghe