Is Michel Houellebecq changing artistic domains? On 10 June, the writer presented his medical bulletin at the contemporary-art biennale, Manifesta, currently on in Zurich. From 23 June 2016 to 11 September, he will be presenting an exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo called “Rester Vivant” (Staying Alive) and from now on he will be represented by the gallery Air de Paris.
The medical test was carried out by Dr Henry Perschak who heads a clinic in Zurich. Different medical images of his body were shown, namely the artist’s skull and the bones of his right hand. These images were then spread out throughout the Swiss city. “We don’t initially think of one’s body as a medical object, but this is the reality,” he commented. The idea apparently came from a meeting with the artist Christian Jankowski, curator of the exhibition, who is said to have suggested to the writer that he play the performance game.
The diagnostic: “He’s in remarkably good health. Everyone knows that he doesn’t lead a very healthy life. And yet, yes, he’s fine,” explains Dr Perschak. And what’s more, the installation seems to have impressed others. Artist Jorinde Voigt has said that she is “very surprised” and “almost jealous, also commenting: “He speaks a different language from the one he’s used to” and he’s managed to find a way “to say something about himself in the current language of technological possibilities”.