Céleste Boursier-Mougenot produces systems from everyday situations and objects, as well as devices, of which he then extracts their musical and sound potential. In this way, the artist reconfigures both the rhythmic and melodic possibilities of his materials, which he uses to generate sonic forms that he describes as being “living.” Based on a close relationship with the architectural and spatial nature of the exhibition space, each system creates a framework favoring a multi-sensorial experience for the visitor. In 2015, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot is representing France at the 56th Contemporary Art Biennial in Venice. For the Palais de Tokyo, he has conceived a lakeside landscape, leading visitors into a tactile, visual and sonic experience, thus changing their perception of the space. Visitors are drawn into a flow of images, creating doors leading into a hallucinatory journey.
This monograph gathers a conversation with Céleste Boursier-Mougenot and Daria de Beauvais, curator of the exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo, an essay by Frédérique Aït-Touati, a portfolio of views of the exhibition, a selection of images of works by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot in relation to the installation, and notes on a selection of the artist's works.
Frédérique Aït-Touati is a stage director and researcher. She stages performances and plays that combine sciences, arts, and politics. She has published several studies on the relations between the arts and the sciences.
Daria de Beauvais is a curator at the Palais de Tokyo.
Published on the occasion of Céleste Boursier-Mougenot's solo exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo, “acquaalta,” from June to September 2015.
Published in cooperation with Les presses du réel, this series of monographic books accompanies the Palais de Tokyo's exhibition program. Richly illustrated, with many views of the exhibition, accessible to all, each book will offer the reader an extended experience of the encounter with the artists' work. The artists' words will appear alongside original contributions by theoreticians, art critics, and curators, providing the reader with a deeper understanding of each artist's background and of the genesis of their project for the Palais de Tokyo. These books will allow the reader to follow the evolution of the artists' reflection on their work. Reproductions of artworks, preparatory documents, visual references, and studio views will bear witness to each step in the artist's process and accompany interviews and essays.
Known for installations that are as much auditory as visual, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot (born 1961 in Nice) is an artist and composer based in Sete (France). First trained as a musician at the Conservatory for Music in Nice, he began his career as a composer for the Pascal Rambert theatre company. His most well known piece, from here to ear (1999-2014), fills a room with chromatically tuned, amplified electric guitars and flock of finches. The birds create sound both through their own calls and their interaction with the instruments. The resulting aleatory music recalls John Cage's compositions, and a sonic environment that has its roots in everything from the 1960s experiments of La Monte Young to the more recent work of artists like Susan Hiller.