Céleste Boursier-Mougenot & Ariane Michel

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot & Ariane Michel
Céleste Boursier-Mougenot and Ariane Michel, Céleste's birds, 2008, collection Frac Franche-Comté, © Ariane Michel and Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, photos © Biennale Son | Olivier Lovey

Celeste's birds, 2008

Film by Arianne Michel, based on the installation Fom Here To Ear by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

Video: color, sound, on screen, in video projection, 8'6''

Work presented as part of the exhibition Echos d'une collection - Works by Frac Franche-Comté

Ariane Michel freely produced the video for the Parisian gallery Xippas for Céleste Boursier-Mougenot's solo show. She reports on From here to ear, a sound installation conceived in the late 1990s and which has evolved over the years.

One area of the exhibition is set up as an aviary, with greenery, a stream and Gibson electric guitars, Fender Startocaster and Fender basses. The bird-diamonds will operate the instruments by alighting on them, mixing their own vocals with the random sounds. Visitors can move around this sonic space, the fruit of a meeting of different worlds.

In 1995, a first version, entitled D'ici à ici, linked two distinct locations, one with birds perched on piano strings, the other where the sounds thus produced were processed and where visitors were also present. In 1999, at New York's P.S.1, the musical birds, guitars and audience were brought together.

This way of creating a situation likely to produce new, uncontrollable music corresponds to the evolution of the composer turned visual artist, creating devices that escape him rather than music to be reproduced or recorded.

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

Born in 1961 in Nice

Lives and works in Sète

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot grew up in a milieu of artists and intellectuals - his grandfather was a painter, his father a sculptor and garden historian, his mother a city sociologist - and was trained from childhood at the Conservatoire de Musique de Nice. Between 1985 and 1994, he first found space for his unconventional creativity in the dramatic company of another Nice native, Pascal Rambert. Gradually, the sound structures he imagined for the stage took on a life of their own. His installations make use of the living, the moving, the ephemeral, and appeal as much to sight as to hearing. We watch a sound form take shape. Or simply a movement, a flow, since Céleste Boursier-Mougenot's art tends towards silence.

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot uses musical instruments activated differently, reinterpreted, or other objects diverted from their original function. The human possibilities of making music are surpassed, and our imaginations are opened up. Take, for example, the different versions of Clinamen, each time designed for specific locations - under architect Richard Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome at the Lyon Biennale in 2017 - where porcelain cups of different sizes float on a pool of water, and clash. The series is the heir to untitled pieces created back in 1997, in which porcelain vessels tinkled in inflatable pools.

Whether using the breath of vacuum cleaners to activate harmonicas(harmonichaos), transforming an out-of-use piano into a billiard table(Karambolage), using the energy of sap to move trees and create electric music (French Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015) or circulating a torrent through the spaces of an art center (Fondation François Schneider in 2019), Céleste Boursier-Mougenot's creations are an invitation to go through our daily lives, composing our own ambient music rather than being subjected to its noises.

Ariane Michel

Born in 1973 in Paris

Lives and works between Paris and Finistère

Video artist Ariane Michel studied sociology before training in video art at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs and Le Fresnoy.

Her films and installations challenge the way we perceive the world. She invests non-human territories, manipulating perception, scale and the hierarchy of beings, attacking our anthropocentric relationship to the world.

Recent events include Il Concerto dell'acqua (2022), a nocturnal film-concert in a small square in Venice, and a collaboration with Marielle Macé at the Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers.

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