Sonsara

Venue

Artist

Curator

Organizer

Co-organizer

CMBC - China Minsheng Bank, Shanghai Minsheng Art Foundation, Consulate General of the Republic of France in Shanghai, Ministry of Culture (France)

Media Support

Artron.net (Artron.net), Art World (Art World), Artco China (Artco China), Shanghai BANG, V-art

Exhibition Preface

Sonsara

A free man thinks of death least of all things; and his wisdom is a meditation not of death but of life.

Spinoza, The Ethics, Part IV, PROP. LXVII.

Sonsara is a combined concept. Son means sound in French, the auditory effect that can be sensed through the ear. Samsara means the cycle of life. The meaning of this word includes mankind’s past life and the eternal life after death. Every real life is inherited from the past. Thus sonsara is exactly what the Chinese title is trying to express. It is not only the endless life and continuous sound, but also a metaphor of the spiral exhibition site.

What Céleste and I have together conceived is a project of imagination and contemplation, containing the reflection of the symbiosis and a control system for human and nature. The two issues that the exhibition wants to discuss, “how humans co-exist with the artificial nature” and “building an ecology, imaging the world after human”, constitute the two sides of the non-zero-sum game between human and non-human beings. First, we invite the audience to re-understand the concept of nature. The artificial world is constantly devouring the “outer” nature and transforming it into “interior”. The ecologist’s voice for salvation has become an illusion. Second, what exactly does the “extinction” of the human species mean? In science fiction, the future is always imagined as the last judgment of human. Our idea is different. Seemingly what the exhibition presents is still the last picture after destruction and the end of the world, but its actual starting point is the innumerable entanglements between human and non-human beings, in which human must be involved. We put human back to all things instead of discussing the non-human beings and imaging the fate and noumenon of the non-human beings without a reference to human. Otherwise, it is essentially the same as the eschatology, carrying a complete anthropocentrism.

This is also a melancholic project. What is melancholic is that we must live with hope and face the extinction of mankind. Man comes from all things. Once man was so attached to all things; now all things are attached to man. There is always the ghost of human beings in the back of the non-human beings. Now we need to restart the contemplation of life. But the object of contemplation is no longer the being of human, but “life” itself.

Sun Qidong

About The Artist

Céleste Bousier-Mougenot

Born in Nice in 1961, Céleste Bousier-Mougenot lives and works in Sète. His works have been widely exhibited and collected all over the world. After training for a musical career at the Conservatoire National de Nice, he worked as the composer of the stage director Pascal Rambert’s “Side One Posthume Théâtre” company for nearly ten years from the 1980s to the 1990s. Bousier-Mougenot started to create sound installation since 1994, was nominated for the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2010, and represented France at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. His exhibition Acquaalta in 2015 turned the space of Palais de Tokyo into a lake and invited the audience to feel all the changes in tactile, visual and auditory experience from this, winning him international recognition.

About Curator

Sun Qidong

Sun Qidong now works as a curator for Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum. Sun is involved in multiple activities in which he questions the relation between art and the economy. His researches focus on the creation of contemporary art, curatorial practice. As a curator, he has just organized Sonsara: Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, Secret Garden: Nathalie Djurberg& Hans Berg, Do you wanna play with me and Non-figurative. In addition, he has participated in initiating the art project Invisible Elephant, as well as in publishing theoretical journal ZAZA.


Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

Brume
Installation
2017

The fourth floor of the art museum is filled with brume. Visitors are guided through the brume by the looming drone and constantly meet with the image flux like in a dream. These images come from the other works that visitors will visit next and the other audiences who entered the exhibition earlier.


Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

Clinamen
Installation
2017

In this new version of clinamen, two hundred white porcelain bowls of varying sizes float in the pool where the flow of water is controlled. The water waves carry the bowls. When different bowls meet, collide, separate, the sound reverberates in the entire central hall and the audience's ears.


Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

From Here To Ear
Installation
2017

The piece “from here to ear”, taking birds as the leading character, places 168 zebra finches between musical instruments with the feed, combined with amplifiers and effectors, together with the surrounding nesting, sand and plants, creating the experience of listening to live performances in nature.


Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

Scanners
Installation
2017

The helium balloons with wireless microphones tied to the bottom, float and move in the space in the wind of the electric fans. The ambient sound recorded by the microphones is played in real-time by the speakers at the site. The undetectable random sounds created by the changes in position and airflow define the space itself.


Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

Plex
Installation
2017

The artist processed the real-time surveillance video of the work clinamen and projected it into a given space. The floating white bowls move slowly in a more abstract way. The audience is surrounded by the bass processed from the real-time surveillance video.


Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

Choreography
Installation
2017

The installation is made up of hundreds of pebbles that transform the narrow escalator at the entrance of the art museum into an ancient riverbed with natural atmosphere. The escalator is seen as a link between the outdoor and the exhibition hall. Going through the narrow path, the visitors gradually slow down their pace. It serves as a clue to lead the audience into the subsequent piece.

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