CMBC - China Minsheng Bank, Shanghai Minsheng Art Foundation, Consulate General of the Republic of France in Shanghai, Ministry of Culture (France)
Artron.net (Artron.net), Art World (Art World), Artco China (Artco China), Shanghai BANG, V-art
A free man thinks of death least of all things; and his wisdom is a meditation not of death but of life.
Spinoza, The Ethics, Part IV, PROP. LXVII.
Sonsara is a combined concept. Son means sound in French, the auditory effect that can be sensed through the ear. Samsara means the cycle of life. The meaning of this word includes mankind’s past life and the eternal life after death. Every real life is inherited from the past. Thus sonsara is exactly what the Chinese title is trying to express. It is not only the endless life and continuous sound, but also a metaphor of the spiral exhibition site.
What Céleste and I have together conceived is a project of imagination and contemplation, containing the reflection of the symbiosis and a control system for human and nature. The two issues that the exhibition wants to discuss, “how humans co-exist with the artificial nature” and “building an ecology, imaging the world after human”, constitute the two sides of the non-zero-sum game between human and non-human beings. First, we invite the audience to re-understand the concept of nature. The artificial world is constantly devouring the “outer” nature and transforming it into “interior”. The ecologist’s voice for salvation has become an illusion. Second, what exactly does the “extinction” of the human species mean? In science fiction, the future is always imagined as the last judgment of human. Our idea is different. Seemingly what the exhibition presents is still the last picture after destruction and the end of the world, but its actual starting point is the innumerable entanglements between human and non-human beings, in which human must be involved. We put human back to all things instead of discussing the non-human beings and imaging the fate and noumenon of the non-human beings without a reference to human. Otherwise, it is essentially the same as the eschatology, carrying a complete anthropocentrism.
This is also a melancholic project. What is melancholic is that we must live with hope and face the extinction of mankind. Man comes from all things. Once man was so attached to all things; now all things are attached to man. There is always the ghost of human beings in the back of the non-human beings. Now we need to restart the contemplation of life. But the object of contemplation is no longer the being of human, but “life” itself.
Born in Nice in 1961, Céleste Bousier-Mougenot lives and works in Sète. His works have been widely exhibited and collected all over the world. After training for a musical career at the Conservatoire National de Nice, he worked as the composer of the stage director Pascal Rambert’s “Side One Posthume Théatre” company for nearly ten years from the 1980s to the 1990s. Bousier-Mougenot started to create sound installation since 1994, was nominated for the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2010, and represented France at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. His exhibition Acquaalta in 2015 turned the space of Palais de Tokyo into a lake and invited the audience to feel all the changes in tactile, visual and auditory experience from this, winning him international recognition.
Sun Qidong now works as a curator for Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum. Sun is involved in multiple activities in which he questions the relation between art and the economy. His researches focus on the creation of contemporary art, curatorial practice. As a curator, he has just organized Sonsara: Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, Secret Garden: Nathalie Djurberg& Hans Berg, Do you wanna play with me and Non-figurative. In addition, he has participated in initiating the art project Invisible Elephant, as well as in publishing theoretical journal ZAZA.