Shortly after graduating, Parreno began to explore various ways of representing images and reality in his video-based works.Read More
In No More Reality II (la manifestation) (1991), a group of children wave banners and placards while shouting, 'No more reality!', raising questions about the meaning of reality in a world inundated with images. No More Reality Whereabouts (2019), created almost three decades later, further examines the authenticity of images by combining footage produced over a span of 20 years.
Frequently collaborating with artists and professionals across other disciplines, in the late 1990s, Parreno worked with French artist Pierre Huyghe to create No Ghost Just a Shell (1999–2002), a project revolving around a manga character named AnnLee. Having purchased the copyright to her images, the two artists rendered her three-dimensionally in a series of videos. In the videos, AnnLee discusses the disparate but overlapping aspects of her identities as a work of art, a female character, and a commodity.
Stressing his inclination towards collaboration and conversation, Parreno has invited fellow artists to incorporate AnnLee into their works. In 2002, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art organised No Ghost Just a Shell, a group exhibition of works by Parreno, Huyghe, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Melik Ohanian, among others, all of which feature AnnLee.
In 2006, Parenno collaborated with Douglas Gordon to create a film focused on the French soccer star Zinédine Zidane. Assembled from live broadcasts and footage shot of the player during one single match using 17 cameras and multiple angles, the film was conceived by the two artists having regard to the genre of portraiture. It can be related to Diego Velázquez's portraits, as well as to Andy Warhol's real-time film portraits.
The dual-channel video version of Zidane was subsequently acquired by the Guggenheim, the website of which describes the work as, 'deepening the psychological complexity of the portrait and echoing the broader mass-dissemination of the celebrity-hero'.
Parreno envisions the format of an exhibition as a medium in itself, and often introduces interdisciplinary elements to his shows to reconfigure the traditional viewer-artwork relationship. Anywhen, his solo exhibition at Tate Modern's Turbine Hall in 2016, included an installation of helium-filled fish balloons across the site. The fish were accompanied by a score designed by Nicolas Becker, Parreno's long-time collaborator, and composer Cengiz Hartlap, as well as a moving spotlight made in collaboration with Liam Gillick.
In 2019, Parreno presented the site-specific installation Echo at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Composed of kinetic parts, a video screen, and hanging lamps, the work was programmed to translate data from its surroundings—from the velocity of wind to the sounds of visitors—into audio and light that 'echoed' its environment.