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IInstallation view of Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, clinamen
from Art & Music: the Search for New Synesthesia, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Japan (Oct. 27, 2012— Feb 3, 2013)
Media Release • 30 Apr 13

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot: clinamen

A beguiling new installation by renowned French artist and composer Céleste Boursier-Mougenot featuring a celestial blue pool of water and unorthodox musical instruments will fill the NGV foyer from 3 May.

In Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s clinamen 2013, white porcelain bowls float on the surface of an expansive, intensely blue pool. The floating crockery, swept along by submarine currents, circulates gently, colliding as percussive instruments.  This constantly changing and chiming acoustic soundscape, illustrated by shifting patterns, shadows and chance compositions will resonate through the space.

Max Delany, Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, NGV, said: “With its seductive use of colour, sound and space, clinamen offers a multi-sensory synaesthetic experience, whilst also creating a social space for reflection and contemplation.”

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot is a French artist and composer who creates large-scale acoustic installations which draw upon laws of nature and rhythms of everyday life to produce new forms of art and music. Encompassing sculptural, performative and avant-garde music traditions, and the use of unorthodox musical instruments, Boursier-Mougenot’s installations promote chance and indeterminacy in musical composition, albeit within highly controlled environments.

A past Marcel Duchamp Prize finalist, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s work has been presented in major exhibitions by leading museums and galleries internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Barbican Centre, London and PS1, New York, and group exhibitions including Art & Music: Search for New Synesthesia, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 2012; French Art Today, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, 2011; 21st Century: Art in the First Decade, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2010; and the 3rd Moscow Biennale, Moscow, 2009.

Commissioned for the NGV, Director Tony Ellwood commented: “This extraordinary commission has been made possible through the generosity and vision of the Loti and Victor Smorgon Fund.

“We are incredibly grateful to Loti and her late husband Victor Smorgon for their contribution to contemporary art at the NGV and for offering visitors to clinamen this mesmerizing experience,” said Mr Ellwood.

This substantial Fund was created to rebalance the NGV’s collection through the acquisition of twentieth-century and contemporary art.  clinamen marks a new direction in the Fund through its support of contemporary art commissions including the recently initiated series of commissions for Federation Court at NGV International.

clinamen 2013 also offers a lyrical contemporary response to the exquisite works in Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition Monet’s Garden with both artists intrigued by the aesthetic possibilities of controlled nature.

 “Boursier-Mougenot’s body of work has links to Monet’s Nymphaea, or water-lilies, which, floating upon the surface of ponds in his garden at Giverny, provided infinite opportunity for the contemplation of nature and inspiration for artistic creativity,” Delany said.

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot: clinamen will be on display from 3 May 2013 to 8 September 2013 at NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road. Entry is free.


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Céleste Boursier-Mougenot: clinamen is generously supported by the Loti and Victor Smorgon Fund