There is a ridiculously cool exhibition now on in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Seventy songbirds fill a room littered with electric guitars on stands. As the birds perch on the strings of the guitars, they create a cacophonous song of pre-recorded rock, punk and heavy-metal chords. The installation is a celebration of life, music, and ephemeral beauty.
The exhibition, from here to ear v.19, was conceived by French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot.
The space is very exciting.
There is such a blast of vitality in being surrounded by animals. I walked through the gallery with a huge smile on face. Birds fly throughout the room, going on about their lives. Guitar chords and birdsong ring out.
As I visited the space, I found myself wondering: Where is the art in this exhibition? Is it in the music of the guitar chords and birdsong? The elegant design of the interior? The concept?
After my visit, I concluded that, for me, the artistry is in sharing the same space as the birds, in seeing these living creatures go about life, even here. These birds are unaware that they are part of a museum exhibition. They make music, not for 'art', but in the process of landing, of stretching a wing, of chasing another bird away, of gathering straw, of grooming a neighbor...
The disjointed music is the product of living. Therein lies the artistry.
Watch an interview with the artist and hear the exhibition:
from here to ear v.19 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (until March 27, 2016)
Address: 1380 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montréal ∣ Métro: Station Peel or Station Guy-Concordia (Green Line) ∣ Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm, major exhibition open until 9pm on Wednesday
NOTE: The MMFA (including this exhibition) is free this December, except the main temporary exhibition!