L'évènement L'oeil écoute - Centre Pompidou


L'oeil écoute


Visuel d'un événement

Crédit photographique : © Jean-Claude Planchet - Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI /Dist. RMN-GP © Adagp, Paris

À propos de l'événement

L'oeil écoute


4 mai 2017 - 16 avril 2018

de 11h à 21h
Musée - Niveau 5 - Centre Pompidou, Paris

Accès avec le billet Musée et expositions

Une fois par an, jalonnant le parcours des collections du Centre Pompidou, une nouvelle séquence d’expositions-dossiers propose au visiteur une relecture de l’histoire de l’art du 20e siècle à travers un thème. De traverses en vitrines, de vitrines en salles, ces espaces d’étude et de recherche, qui émaillent la visite, permettent d’éclairer les strates de l’histoire de l’art moderne : après une séquence consacrée aux « Passeurs », ces historiens, critiques d’art et amateurs éclairés qui ont tant contribué à son écriture, après « Politiques de l’art » qui a souligné l’engagement des artiste...

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Commissaire : Mnam/Cci, Nicolas Liucci-Goutnikov

From room to room

The Musician in Photographs

Who better embodies music than its performers? Playing for the amusement of passers-by in the street, or striking a pose in the privacy of the photographic studio, musicians have many faces. In the 1910s and ’20s, before his emigration to Paris, André Kertész (1894-1985) photographed the violinists and accordionists of his native Hungary. During those same years, in Cologne, August Sander (1876-1964) photographed groups of street musicians. At his studio, he also shot many portraits of distinguished classical musicians. This type of image, often intended for promotional purposes, was very p...

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Abstraction and Music as Model

The newly emergent abstraction needed models in terms of which it could understand and justify itself, and of these music was one of the most important. To a painting seeking to free itself of representation, music offered a powerful conceptual framework. Indeed, the titles of several pioneering abstract works – by Kupka or Kandinsky, for example – make direct reference to music. Yet while painting might become abstract, pure, like music, a crucial dimension of the latter escaped it: time and movement. Abstract painting would find in film a means of becoming yet more music-like, and it was ...

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Brancusi and Music

Brancusi was naturally musical. Though he never studied music systematically, he had a fine singing voice and could play the violin and the guitar. His fellow-Romanian, the ethnomusicologist Constantin Brăïloiu – who helped found the International Archive of Popular Music at the Museum of Ethnography in Geneva – created for him an eclectic library of some 200 records of music from all over the world, from Latin America to India and the Pacific islands, from the folk music of Europe to American jazz. Good with his hands and fond of music, Brancusi built himself a gramophone, which together w...

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“The beauties of indifference” : The aesthetic of chance in music and the visual arts

Throughout the 20th century, the notion of chance has been very important to modernist practice, from music to the visual arts, creating bridges between the two domains. Already in the 1910s, what chance brought with it in terms of the incongruous and destructive allowed Dada to give expression to its antinomian spirit. With the 3 Stoppages-étalon (1913), which Marcel Duchamp defined as his “first use of ‘chance’ as a medium”, visual art freed itself of the canon of beauty and turned to experiment. John Cage – introduced to chess by Duchamp – adopted as his own the aesthetic of banality and...

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Fluxus Festivals

The Fluxus movement has a notable connection with music in that the term “Fluxus” was first used in the invitations to three “Musica Antiqua et Nova” events organised by George Maciunas in 1961. In 1962 – supported by artists such as Joseph Beuys, Wolf Vostell, Giuseppe Chiari and Sylvano Bussotti – Maciunas, Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles organised a serie of Fluxfestivals, the first being the historic Fluxus Internationale Festspiele Neuester Musik in Wiesbaden. Works by John Cage, György Ligeti and Terry Riley were presented alongside pieces by Dick Higgins, George Brecht, Nam June Paik...

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Serge Diaghilev (1872 - 1929) and the Ballets russes

After being dismissed from his post as assistant to the director of the Imperial Theatres, Diaghilev – accompanied by Michel Fokine, Léon Bakst, Alexandre Benois and some of his dancers – departed for Paris, where in 1909 he launched the first season of the Ballets Russes at the Théâtre du Châtelet. A skilful manager of people, Diaghilev surrounded himself with the greatest artists of the age (composers, choreographers, dancers and painters), dazzling the Parisian public with revivals of Russian works and new works informed by the latest aesthetic experiments. Artistic sets, costumes in bri...

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The Musical Instrument as Seen by the Photographer

Musical instruments were recurrent motifs in the iconography of the photographic avant-garde. Reacting to traditional representations of the real, in the 1920s and ’30s the “new” photographers adopted a more experimental approach, exploiting the many possibilities offered by the camera. Sound holes, strings, bows, scrolls and accordion bellows were especially favoured for their unusual appearance and the play of light and shade they offered. Shot in close up, features isolated by the framing, instruments found themselves transformed almost to the point of abstraction, or took on a surreal a...

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Sound Poetry

The 1960s witnessed tremendous creative energy go into poetic invention, the alchemy of what theorist Marshall McLuhan called “verbo-voco-visual exploration.” A generation of artists exploited the simultaneously sonorous and visual potential of language in innovative forms of writing and reading, expanding the experience of hearing and seeing in a return to the “optophonetic” interests of the Dadaists. Adepts of sound poetry were also attentive to the new forms of musical expression pioneered at Pierre Boulez’s Domaine Musical, experiments later continued at Jean-Clarence Lambert’s Domaine ...

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The Sound Works of Antonin Artaud

His discovery of Balinese theatre at the 1931 Colonial Exhibition in Paris played a crucial role in the development of Artaud’s own theatre. On encountering the traditional percussion ensemble known as the gamelan, he was struck by the close relationship between music and movement. The contrast with traditional, text-dominated Western theatre was striking. He thus conceived of a theatre shamanic in character, based on the equality of sound, speech, gesture, light and setting. Beyond the reflections collected in The Theatre and its Double of 1938, the question of sonority and breath pervades...

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Elective Affinities: Architecture and Music

The relationship between music and architecture has been discussed since Antiquity – rhythm and proportion being two evident shared features – and underlay the notion of the unity of the arts. Grounded in the work of mathematicians such as Pythagoras, reciprocal influences between architectural and musical aesthetics abound: they can be found in the architectural principles expounded by Alberti or Vitruvius, in the compositions of J.S. Bach, in serial music and in contemporary acoustics. It is a dialogue that becomes particularly visible in collaborations between architects and musicians, o...

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Jean Dubuffet : Musical experiments

This room is devoted to the “musical experiments” undertaken by Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985) at two moments in his career, first in 1960–61 and then in 1973–74. Dubuffet’s reflections on popular music, jazz, and the music of the Middle East testify to a quest for a music liberated from the conventions of the Western classical tradition, with which he had been confronted on being taught the piano at a young age.
His innovative sound experiments of the 1960s align the “musician” with the “painter”, Dubuffet’s musical ideas being inseparable from his pictorial investigations, in two key groups ...

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Paris Nights (1905-1930

From Montmartre to the boulevards of Montparnasse, evening entertainments in early 20th-century Paris brought together a very mixed crowd. On the Left Bank, the Delaunays, Blaise Cendrars and Apollinaire would dance at the Bal Bullier, which offered “drag balls” and “plain balls”. Apollinaire and the avant-garde artists also met at the home of Baroness Hélène d’Oettingen on nearby Boulevard Raspail. One regular was Léopold Survage, who had a small studio next door. Over on the Right Bank, Kees Van Dongen went to see the dancers at the Folies Bergère, while Man Ray preferred those of the Bal...

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The Ballets Suédois

Cocteau, Picabia, Satie, Debussy, Milhaud, Léger, Bonnard, Clair, Chirico: “What ballet company has ever put on such a show, bringing together the most illustrious of musicians with the painters who are the flower of French contemporary art” L. Handler, Comoedia (15 February 1921).

Founder, funder and director of the Ballets Suédois, Rolf de Maré introduced the company to the public at a “grand dress rehearsal” at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 23 October 1920. Following the Ballets Russes, who had been startling the Parisians since 1909, the Ballets Suédois revolutionised the traditiona...

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Erik Satie

Erik Satie in 1888 called himself a “gymnopedist”, a description that won him a place among the artists at the Chat Noir cabaret in Montmartre. An unplaceable composer admired by Debussy, Milhaud and Poulenc, his apparently idiosyncratic musical approach was intimately connected to current artistic trends. A friend of Brancusi, Picasso, Cendrars and Cocteau who played his work in art galleries, he was fascinated by language and visual expression. Satie wrote his music on paper like a calligrapher poet, drawing his staves by hand, without bars, specifying rhythm and expression by impish form...

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The 1950s saw an unprecedented convergence between visual artists and musicians around innovation in notation. The musical avant-garde put into question the role of the score, no longer the place where the composer permanently determined the detail of a sound structure through the use of musical notation but rather material offered to the creativity of the performer in the form of graphical and verbal notation free of all convention, whose “instructions for use” had sometimes to be invented. In the visual arts, the possibility of a “non-retinal” art canvassed by Marcel Duchamp inaugurated a...

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Futurist Music

The Futurist musical revolution found its most notable expression in the work of Luigi Russolo. On 11 March 1913, he wrote a manifesto entitled “The Art of Noise”, in the form of a letter addressed to his friend the musician Francesco Balilla Pratella. For Russolo, the music of “pure sound” had reached its end. Full of noise, modern life offered music a new material. The sound environment of the great cities, altered by machinery, like that of the countryside, demanded that the artists of the day make its noises their own. Including the sounds of nature, Russolo divided noises into six cate...

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The Surrealists and Music: A Golden Silence

Surrealism’s silence regarding music essentially stems from the convictions of its founder, André Breton. While he and fellow editors Philippe Soupault and Louis Aragon had published music columns by composers Darius Milhaud and Georges Auric in the early numbers of their magazine Littérature in 1919, Breton declared position in La Révolution surréaliste of 15 July 1925: “May night continue to fall on the orchestra.” For him, musical composition seemed opposed to two of the group’s key ideas: automatism and the inner model. Among the Belgian Surrealists, however, the musician André Souris, ...

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Georges Braque as stage designer

Music played an essential role in Braque’s life and work. He played the flute and accordion and collected musical instruments, which featured in his still lifes. For Sergei Diaghilev’s company Les Ballets Russes, Braque created the stage curtains, sets and costumes for two ballets, Les Fâcheux (1924) and Zéphire et Flore (1925), at the Théâtre de Monte-Carlo. He was also the stage designer for Salade (1924), one of the Comte de Beaumont’s “Soirées de Paris” at the Théâtre de la Cigale. These shows modernised Italian comedy and involved Braque with the most brilliant composers and dancers of...

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