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April 27, 2016 till August 21, 2016

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Swiss artists Christian Marclay, Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz will take part in the exhibition Esma’/Listen taking place at the Beirut Art Center from 27 April until 21 August.

The exhibition is a journey in the works of artists and composers developing contemporary forms of listening. Since the ear does not have an eyelid, our acoustic sensitivity exposes us to sound before anything else. Listening is the counterpart of this porosity of the senses: it is an act; it samples or filters the sound material that we receive; it may be immersive, but is also likely to detail, reproduce and translate sounds by means of our analytical capabilities, as well as by way of recording and amplification techniques.

Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz have been working together in Berlin since 2007. Their staged films and film installations often start with a song, a picture, a film or a script from the past. They produce performances for the camera, staging the actions of individuals and groups living — indeed thriving — in defiance of normality, law and economics. Their films upset normative historical narratives, as figures across time are staged, projected and layered. Their performers are choreographers, artists and musicians, with whom they are having a long-term conversation about performance, the meaning of visibility since early modernity, the pathologization of bodies, but also about glamour and resistance. They will present:

To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation
This installation features a film based on a composition by Pauline Oliveros, To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation.The American composer, who pursued the idea of ‘deep listening’ and the enhancement of perceptions, dedicated her piece to two feminine figures destroyed by the dominance of representations. The piece values the unpredictable and unknowable possibilities that might be activated by non-specifying pitches and rhythms.

Christian Marclay works in a wide range of media, including sculpture, video, photography, collage, and performance. For more than 30 years, he has been exploring the connections between the visual and the audible, creating works in which these two distinct sensorial experiences enrich and challenge each other. Marclay’s work has been shown in museums and galleries internationally. He has had important one-person exhibitions at the Kunsthaus, Zurich (1997), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2001), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2002), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2010), and the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2011). At Esma’/Listen, he will present two works:

4,000,000,000 Minutes

Christian Marclay has worked since the 1980s in an intense back and forth between music and the visual arts. Through reuse and sampling, many of his works question the cultural and artistic remains of the analogue sound culture and its very process of an imprint (index) of sound on a material surface. The floor at the opening of the exhibition is covered with old LPs. Visitors are invited to trample these remains which amass a volume of stored past time. This work offers an unstable ground and situation reversal. Only memory and imagination will enable us to temporarily ‘play’ these records, producing a virtual silent cacophony and an effective destruction.

Mixed Reviews

On the screen, a hearing impaired actor interprets a collage of texts sampled from music criticism, in which writers try to describe the music they heard. His performance is unmistakably musical although it is silent, and his gestures resemble those of a symphony conductor. Mixed Reviews is conceptually loud while literally silent. It is both a testament about the impossibility of communication and a compelling instance of translation creating new forms of art. For the deaf, music is a different experience than for the hearing, and this work calls into question the hierarchy that values the musical experiences of the hearing over those of the deaf.

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