Danny the Street (2006 – 2015)
Another Day with Another Sun (2014)
The installation Danny the Street (named after the character created by Grant Morrison and Brendan McCarthy for DC Comics) is composed of nineteen Marquees (sculptures in Plexiglass, lights and sounds realized between 2006 and 2015), and is an imaginary street that winds its way through the “Navate” in HangarBicocca. Made of different sizes, the Marquees are suspended at various height. They were inspired by the luminous signs which hung over the entrances to American movie theatres in the 1950s to advertise films. In Parreno’s work the Marquees become indicators that, no longer advertising a cinematographic show, mark the space by introducing the possibility of an event.
The first work in the series is Marquee (Esther Schipper Plans), realized in 2006 for the entrance to the Esther Schipper gallery in Berlin. On the front of the Marquee, where the film ad was traditionally set, a neon sign reproduces a map of the gallery. The artist conceived these works as enormous 3D captions that can also substitute the object they are supposed to indicate, becoming artworks and at the same time premises or introductions to other artworks.
In 2013, on occasion of his retrospective at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Parreno gathered various Marquees, assembling them in a single installation titled Danny the Street, conceived as a specific group and composition of works to last for the length of the exhibition. As the artist affirmed, a central element of his artistic practice is «the pleasure of taking an object and not reinventing it but renegotiating the way it becomes public.» In the comic book novel Doom Patrol by DC Comics, Danny is a sentient and sapient roadway that “transports” itself into cities.
Set in a line, the nineteen suspended Marquees light up at intermittent moments and, like musical instruments, follow a score conceived by Parreno with Nicolas Becker together with a number of different artists and musicians, including Agoria, Thomas Bartlett, Liam Gillick, Ranjana Leyendecker, Mirwais, and Robert AA Lowe. Two Disklavier pianos are placed on the floor and play a score that determines the timing sequence for the entire exhibition, and appear to play conducted by an invisible presence (the pianist Mikhail Rudy was recorded in New York on the occasion of Parreno’s solo show at Park Avenue Armory in July 2015). As the artist explains, «all of the elements in the exhibition—the videos, music recordings, and marquees—can be controlled from a master keyboard that looks like a piano but conceptually is more like a gamelan, with diverse instruments that can be played together.»