For his solo exhibition at Fondation François Schneider, French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot transformed the entire art center in to a set of site-specific visual and sound installations. The works are connected by a watercourse that flows from the roof of the building through the entire art centre. In contrast, the visitor enters the exhibition at the lowest point of the building and follows the course to its highest point. This video provides you with an exhibition walk-through and an introduction to the both the Fondation François Schneider and Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s exhibition by the director of the Fondation François Schneider and curator of the exhibition, Marie Terrieux.
Céleste Boursier-Mougenot: Liquide Liquide / Fondation François Schneider. Interview with Marie Terrieux, Director of the Fondation François Schneider and curator of the exhibition. Wattwiller, France, July 11, 2019.
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Works on display: plex3 (2019), ∞ (2019), plage (2019), clinamen v.6 (2012-2019), torrent (2019), chorógraphie (2012), and surface (2015).
Excerpt from the press release:
A major figure of the French and international art scene, Céleste Boursier- Mougenot was given free rein by the François Schneider Foundation.
In response, the representative for France at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015 took a poetic knife to the entire Art Centre, recreating in situ a set of visual and sound installations whose aim is to disorient the visitor. The usual downwards trajectory is inverted to create a route that goes from the building’s deepest point up to its peak.
The materials flow, escape, spread out. Glass, water and minerals spread from the edges of the foundation to its viscera. At once both minimal and sophisticated, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s work is a clever fusion of science and fiction.
A visionary for improbable encounters between the living things and manufactured objects that populate our world, to which the artist grants a soul, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot shapes his hybrid works with the control of a craftsman and the “irrationality” of an engineer. His subtle staging and use of space draws on his experiences in the theatre. In the belief that too much visual noise erodes the listening experience, he recreates a sensory, sprightly procession at the heart of the Art Centre, whereby the visitor plays the roles of tightrope walker, swimmer, cosmonaut…
His choice of title, Liquide Liquide, echoing the famous ‘80s New York post-punk band, sets the tone for the Foundation’s summer exhibition: vibrant, alternative and free.
Céleste Boursier-Mougenot was a politically committed actor in the underground scene in Nice at the end of the 1970s. From an early age, he developed a solid visual and auditory ethos, in which questions of space quickly came to the fore. He grew up surrounded by artists and intellectuals: his grandfather was a painter, his father was a glass-maker, sculptor and latterly a horticultural historian, and his mother was an urban sociologist. His work seeks to answer tangible questions by using various tools and creating devices that subvert spatial constraints through a combination of force and gentleness. Boursier-Mougenot’s onerous but hardworking experience at the Nice Conservatory of Music and Dance, which he attended as a child and a teenager, made him realise that he was ill-suited to academic models. This in turn led him to become the composer for the company Side One / Posthume Théâtre (1985-1994), for which the author and director Pascal Rambert gave him free creative rein.
Subsequently, he indulged his musical ambitions by creating more and more physical installations that integrate forms in motion. First French artist to win the International Studio Progam (PS1) in New York in 1998-1999, he has spent some time in America where he has been encouraged to develop increasingly tangible experiments and means of expression. This is particularly apparent in musical installations such as From Here to Ear, where the visitor is invited to enter a “bird territory” in a museum room that has been transformed into an aviary, or his famous inflatable pools (Untitled) filled with water and tinkling porcelain containers at the Paula Cooper Gallery (1999). Since then, his work has focused on stories of living beings and ephemeral objects. The dialogue between technique and imagination has been a constant undercurrent to his work in France and abroad over the past 30 years. Operating at the fringes of commercial channels, he develops his projects almost exclusively in situ.
His work has been exhibited at major institutions, including the last two Lyon Biennales (2015-2017) and at the Minsheng Museum in Shanghai (2017), the Venice Biennale (2015), the Palais de Tokyo (2015), the Victoria National Gallery in Melbourne (2013), the Barbican Art Center in London (2010) and the Pinacoteca de São Paulo (2009).
Céleste Boursier-Mougenot is represented by the Paula Cooper Gallery (New York), the Xippas Gallery (Paris, Geneva, Montevideo, Athens) and the Mario Mazzoli Gallery (Berlin).
Céleste Boursier-Mougenot was born in Nice in 1961. Father of four children, he lives and works in Sète in France.