French musician and composer Céleste Boursier-Mougenot creates sonic works based on the sounds of everyday life in order to produce music that is utterly unexpected. For the record, Boursier-Mougenot is not an ordinary artist. He is a music devotee who believes in the visual potential of music and his sonic installations are a study into how we perceive, create and interact with music. Moreover, his work is an exploration of the way music (and sound in general) defines space whilst being defined by it. His latest work, ''From here to ear (version 15)'', is being shown at the HangarBicocca gallery’s Cube in Milan (October 6th-December 4th, 2011), a spectacular continuation of his widely acclaimed exhibition at the Barbican Art Centre during the spring of 2010. Inspired by his previous use of electric guitars and zebra finches, Céleste presents a new set up, this time adding percussion as well, where birds are the only protagonists. Like a tribe of experimental musicians, and without even being aware of it, the birds create some wonderful audio pieces, simply by flying around and eating the seeds that are placed on the instruments!
Video Courtesy of Yatzer.com
Boursier-Mougenot started as a musician at the Nice Conservatory going on to work as a composer for nine years (1985-1994) at the Pascal Rambert Theatre Company, an avant-garde theatre group. He moved slowly towards contemporary art and, starting from the early 90’s, began to expose sonic installations in museums and galleries. As Céleste Boursier-Mougenot points out, he uses a controlled variable – an environment, specifically chosen objects and/or animals – in relation to an independent variable – the behaviour of these controlled elements in relation to each other – to create intentional randomness. Therefore, as we form part of the interactive space of his installations as spectators, we define a big part of what is happening as well. Boursier-Mougenot’s deeper intention is to ''let objects talk'' and it is perfectly achieved. His sonic aviaries are an invitation to an imaginary world full of possibilities, a reminder that as long as you can ''chirp'', you can create your own song as well. Sometimes the only thing that you have to do to in order to understand art is to remain silent. This time there is an extra reward: the intense musicality of Boursier-Mougenot’s work.
Céleste Boursier-Mougenot lives and works in Sète, France. His works are part of major public and private collections, including the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Museum of Old and New Art, Australia, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego and the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris.
From here to ear (version 15) @ HangarBicocca, Milan, Italy
Site-specific installation by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, curated by Andrea Lissoni
October 6th-December 4th 2011