International exhibitions

International Archives 2nd half of 2015

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, from here to ear v.19

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal (Canada)

25.11.2015 -27.03.2016

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Press Release

In line with its ongoing policy of bringing the visual arts and music together, the Museum has invited French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot to present his living and ephemeral work, an organic installation specifically conceived for the spaces of the Contemporary Art Square, as transformed into a gigantic aviary.


An astounding sonic arrangement featuring songbirds and electric guitars, from here to ear consists of more than seventy zebra finches, enchanting little chaffinches from central Australia, “performing” in the Square. These tuneful and gregarious birds settle in groups on unusual perches: a dozen amplified electric guitars and basses ready to receive the finches, which, as they fly about on the strings, play pre-recorded rock, punk and heavy-metal chords. While the sounds they generate overlie their own songs, the composition of claws on electric guitars that they improvise is governed by the beating of the birds’ wings and by the movements of visitors as they walk around the gallery.

Organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, this immersive installation is the Canadian premiere for this French artist who represented his country in the 2015 Biennale in Venice. After more than fifteen interpretations, the version presented at the Museum will be one of the largest ever.

The artist. Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, born in Nice in 1961, lives and works in Sète, France. After serving as the composer for writer and director Pascal Rambert’s Side One Posthume Théâtre company from 1985 to 1994, the artist, a musician by training, began to give autonomous form to his music by executing installations. Since 1994, he has been working on combining visual arts and experimental music while making use of the codes of live entertainment. Starting from the most diverse situations or objects, he contrives to find their musical potential, conceiving systems that extend the idea of a musical score to the unorthodox configurations of materials and media he employs in order to generate, usually in live performance, forms of sound that he calls “living” music.

The birds. They come from a breeding farm in Thetford Mines. The thirty-five females and thirty-five males were selected for their social natures, as they are neither fearful nor aggressive. Following the exhibition, the birds will be returned to their breeding farm. This species of bird prefers to live in a group, and has no impulse to fly off on its own. The birds’ daily care (food, cleaning) is carried out each morning by animal-welfare technicians specialized in bird care and by members of the Museum’s team. Once a week, a veterinarian comes to the Museum to verify that the birds are in good health and are being given the proper care.

Exhibition 25 November 2015 - 27 March 2016. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1380 rue Sherbrooke O - Montreal, QCH3G 1J5 (Canada). Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 - 17:00.



Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, from here to ear v.19

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2015. All Rights Reserved

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, from here to ear

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, from here to ear