Groove along with the finches

Sarah Un­win Jones on Jupiter Art­land’s in­trigu­ing installation

The Herald - Arts - - GALLERIES -

YOU know that sum­mer is on its way when Jupiter Art­land opens its doors for the sea­son. The sun is shin­ing on the 100 acre out­door sculp­ture park, fresh green leaves are on the trees and the birds are singing. Some of them are even play­ing the gui­tar. What else would they be do­ing in a con­tem­po­rary art venue?

The finches are the “head­line act”, as it were, of Jupiter Art­land’s spring programme, part of an on­go­ing se­ries now in its 20th in­car­na­tion made by the artist Ce­leste Bour­sier-Mougenet. This charm of 40 ze­bra finches takes a child­hood mem­ory of birds perched on wires and turns it into mu­sic. In­deed, Bour­sier-Mougenet trained as a mu­si­cian and com­poser, and has spent much of his artis­tic life find­ing mu­sic where oth­ers don’t, from col­lid­ing crock­ery in a pad­dling us­ing ma­nip­u­lated cur­rents to en­gi­neer­ing a room full of grand pi­anos to slide around with­out crash­ing into each other.

“From Hear to Ear, v.30” is no dif­fer­ent, an installation of 10 white gui­tars and four black basses, lined up in the grass-stud­ded sand. The birds, chit­ter­ing, shuf­fle and perch on the wires and fret­boards of the gui­tars, slid­ing in­ad­ver­tently from note to note, pluck­ing the strings as they take off, the sound res­onat­ing in an ab­stract rock ca­coph­ony. They bus­tle up on their im­promptu perches, or scuf­fle in the sand on the floor, cre­at­ing their own hi­er­ar­chies. One cou­ple have started to build a nest on a gui­tar. They may mate de­spite the roar of man-and-bird-made sound – the charm in­stalled in London’s Bar­bican laid 64 eggs the last time the work was seen in the UK. This is life writ small played out in sound.

And yet if these lovely finches are pu­ta­tively in charge of the “tune” (no sig­na­ture styles yet, note) noth­ing is left to chance, although the Jupiter Art­land set­ting is a gift, and must be one of the

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