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acquaalta, Céleste-Boursier Mougenot exhibition - les marches

palais de tokyo, paris

24 june - 31 october 2015

Les Marches

For its “Rêvolution” project which he will present at the 56th biennale of Venice in the French pavillion and its “Acquaalta” exhibition in Paris Palais de Tokyo, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot designs and develops in collaboration with smarin, Les Marches, an hybrid and modular art piece.

The Steps could be mistaken for common construction blocks. Their original design serves as the base for an infinity of possible structures, resulting in classic looking stairs surprisingly soft to the body. Discreet yet intriguing, they enable comfort and sculptural space planning designed to be part of a whole, of a landscape picture.

Starting September 2015, these and other pieces derivated from this concept will be referenced as part of smarin’s catalogue.

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

Born in Nice in 1961, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot lives and works in Sète. Presented over the last twenty years in contemporary art venues in France and abroad, his work is first and foremost that of a musician. After spending the period 1985_1994 as composer for author/director Pascal Rambert’s Side One Posthume Théâtre company, he set out to create his own free-standing works in the form of installations. Drawing on the musical potential of an enormous variety of situations and objects, he invents pieces which broaden the notion of the score to include mixed configurations of materials and media ; working mostly live, he generates what the calls «living» sound forms. Adapted to the architectural or environmental characteristics of its exhibition venue, each work provides an aural and visual experience that reveals the process underlying its composition. Among his best known works is from here to ear, which invites the audience into an enormous aviary where musicis created by the ceaseless mouvement of the resident birds. For some years now his practice has also included choreography, with the application of his «compositional» approach to moving objects.

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot has also worked estensively abroad, and in 1988-1999 he was the first French artist to win an International Studio Program residency at PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York State. He is currently represented by the Paula Cooper Gallery (New York), Galerie Xippas (Paris, Geneva, Punta del Este and Montevideo) and Galerie Mario Mazzoli (Berlin). In recent years his works have been shown at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia (2013), the Barbican Centre in London (2010) and the Pinacoteca in São Paulo (2009).

In 2015, after the opening of la Biennale di Venezia, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot will present his installation Acquaalta created specifically for the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. From 24 june to 13 September this lake-landscape will offer the visitor a unique visual, tactile and auditory experience. Starting on 22 May his newly reconfigured clinamen will be on show at the Centre Pompidou Metz. In a blue swimming pools with white porcelain bowls floating on its surface, this visual and auditory landscape represents a musical score whose visual transposition gives rise to sound form.

rêvolutions press kit, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot
Pavillon français de la 56e Exposition internationale d’arts visuels La Biennale di Venezia, 2015

Smarin meets Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

« Céleste Boursier-Mougenot describes designing his environments so that the visitor can «take their place there». As we have seen, the arrangement of the elements of the installations is concieved as a composition, of which the evolutions through time incarnate a choreography. The position of the visitor, their movements, the alternation of walking and standing, the pauses, arise from the same score : the stops correspond to moment of relaxation - always marked in the space by seating systems - but also to pauses in the composition, to breaths, and moments of immobility in the choregraphy. In his works, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot invites the visitor to «install themselves» in the space and in the time of the work, not so much to lose themselves, but in order to find themselves. Letting themselves be guided by the score in the choreography designed for them, the visitor achieves an état second, an altered state - setting themselves in vibration, in resonance with the environment. »

Emanuele Quinz,
Art historian
Exhibition curator
Master of conferences at Paris VIII University

« The curved steps of the peristyle at the entrance to the Pavilion inspire the motif of a circular undulation propagating through the lateral rooms in the work les marches (the steps), curving and flowing through the spaces like the elliptical twin of the sound wave, a double action inviting a symbolic reading of the Pavilion as a version of the semicircle of Ancient Greek theater, that form most revealing of the essence of theater, its connections and projections. les marches sets out in the space of the French Pavilion the essence of these primary forms of theater and their variations. »

Emma Lavigne,
Curator of the French Pavilion
rêvolutions, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot
the 56th International Exhibition of visual arts
La Biennale di Venezia, 2015