21 June–21 September 2014
Opening: Friday, 20 June,
Cité des arts
2 passage des arts
The Centre national des arts plastiques (National Center for Visual Arts, CNAP) and the Fonds régional d’art contemporain (French Regional Contemporary Art Fund, Frac) of Franche-Comté jointly present the main exhibition: Let sounds go wherever they would go, showcasing audio and visual compositions across the exhibition space.
With the artworks of Pierre Alferi, Silvia Bächli, Davide Balula, Basserode, Dominique Blais, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, Pascal Broccolichi, Edith Dekyndt, Marcelline Delbecq, Jean Dupuy, Thomas Flechtner, Tom Johnson, Atsunobu Kohira, Jonas Mekas, Sophie Nys, Paul Panhuysen and Katie Paterson.
Inspired by John Cage, the exhibition assembles works in echo of the American composer’s philosophy when he wittily affirmed to be “for birds and not for the cages in which men put them”(1) and called for freedom for sounds. The exhibition takes its title from Cage’s words in an interview series published in the 1976 book For the Birds. Let sounds go wherever they would go therefore goes through a few major themes recurrent in John Cage’s body of work: sound, silence, chance and disinclination. In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, this exhibition proposes a sound background that lets the visitor to a mental and interior travel; through perception and interpretation of these surrounding sounds he might imagine his own path.
Indeed, Cage admired Thoreau greatly and dedicated some of his pieces to him. The presented works therefore rely on the evocative power of sounds, between hymn to Nature, found noises and the poetry of silence.
The exhibition highlights an exceptional CNAP deposit to the Frac Franche-Comté of over 80 artworks linked to the presence of sound and music in the realm of fine arts. Let sounds go wherever they would go therefore continues the exploration of time through the prism of sound begun by the Frac in 2005 and extended in 2013 with the Ryoji Ikeda test pattern [no.4] project and Sound-Houses #1 project(2) devoted to Alvin Lucier and Tom Johnson. Likewise, the CNAP has pursued this research through acquisitions and distribution projects like the national series of events titled Diagonales, initiated in 2010.
Exhibition curators: Sébastien Faucon, head of the CNAP fine arts collections and Sylvie Zavatta, director of the Frac Franche-Comté
The Centre national des arts plastiques, a public institution of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, supports contemporary creation in all its diversity and vitality, in the visual arts. On behalf of the State, it expands and manages a national contemporary art collection, known as the Fonds national d’art contemporain. This prospective collection of unique scale currently holds over 95,000 works and aims to be the most accurate reflection of the current art scene. It ensures that works are distributed throughout France, and overseas. The CNAP also helps artists and professionals by providing several grants and benefits. It gets the national public commission underway. The CNAP is the main driving force behind the state’s policy on public contemporary art.
The Fonds régional d’art contemporain of Franche-Comté is one of the 23 Frac created in 1982 to disseminate contemporary art within each region of France. The Frac have three complementary missions: to collect the art of our times, to take it out into the public, and to educate people about art. The Frac Franche-Comté builds and manages a public collection of contemporary art which is the unique significant collection of its kind in the Franche-Comté Region, assembling 566 works by 290 artists including Marina Abramovic, Rosa Barba, Christian Boltanski, Robert Breer, Balthasard Burkhard, Gérard Collin-Thiébaut, Manon de Boer, Simon Faithfull, Cyprien Gaillard, Mario Garcia Torrès, Shilpa Gupta, Julius Koller, Didier Marcel, Christian Marclay, Xavier Veilhan, and Raphaël Zarka.
The Frac opened the doors of its new building designed by Kengo Kuma within the Cité des Arts in Besançon, France on 2013.
(1) For the Birds, John Cage in conversation with Daniel Charles, London, Marion Boyards, 1981.
(2) Sound-Houses takes its title from the entity comprised of sound archives and documentation preserved by the Frac, at the same time as its collection.
Agnès Renoult and Raphaële Gruet: T +33(0) 1 44 61 76 76 / r.gruet [at] heymann-renoult.com