“The Great Animal Orchestra” in Paris

Place: Paris, Country: France
Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Paris
The Great Animal Orchestra
temporary exhibition inspired by the work Bernie Krause
Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris
Text by Inexhibit
Images courtesy of Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain

Fondation-Cartier-orchestre-des-animaux-Alaskan Wolves

The Great Animal Orchestra | exhibition at the Fondation Cartier Paris

Until January, 2017, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain is hosting an exhibition, entitled “Le Grand Orchestre des Animaux” (The Great Animal Orchestra), inspired by the work of musician and researcher Bernie Krause. Renowned for his collaboration with artists such as The Doors and Van Morrison and with film directors such as Francis Ford Coppola and Roman Polanski, Krause, captivated by the sounds of the world of animals, in the last 40 years made over 5000 hours of audio recordings across all over the world, becoming a well-respected bioacousticians.


Above: Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, “The Great Animal Orchestra”
Installation view, photo Luc Boegly.
Cover image: Hiroshi Sugimoto, Alaskan Wolves, 1994.
Gelatin silver print, 120 × 210 cm. Collection of the artist. © Hiroshi Sugimoto

As it often happens in the exhibitions presented in Boulevard Raspail, this fascinating event is multifaceted and narrates a theme by using multiple languages at the same time, in this case presenting both a visual and an aural dimension.


Bernie Krause, Saint Vincent Island, Florida, 2001. Photo © Tim Chapman

The Great Animal Orchestra” is divided into three sections.
At the ground floor of the Fondation Cartier’s transparent building designed by Jean Nouvel, the exhibition features a gigantic drawing by Cai Guo-Qiang, ceramics by Adriana Varejão, paintings by Cyprien Tokoudagba, photographs by Manabu Miyazaki and Hiroshi Sugimoto, and videos focused on the animal world made by scientists and artists. All the pieces on view relate to one another through a circular scenography made in terracotta bricks, designed by Mexican architects Gabriela Carrillo and Mauricio Rocha, and which layout resembles that of an orchestra.


Fondation Cartier pour l’ art contemporain, “The Great Animal Orchestra”
Installation view, photo Luc Boegly; background: Cai Guo-Qiang, White Tone, 2016, gunpowder on paper, 4 × 18 m. Collection of the artist. © Cai Guo-Qiang. Photo © Wen-You Cai. Courtesy Cai Studio.


Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, “The Great Animal Orchestra”
Installation view, photo Luc Boegly.


Manabu Miyazaki, Jay, Nagano (Japan), 2014- 2016. Color Photograph. Collection of the artist. © Manabu Miyazaki.

In the large room at the underground level, the exhibition features an installation created by British art collective UVA United Visual Artists. In a darkened space, seven soundscapes based on recordings which Bernie Krause made in Africa and the Americas, are presented to the public in a three-dimensional immersive work. Krause’s sounds and spectrograms are converted into light patterns to reveal their inner beauty and complexity.

In order to stage Bernie Krause’s extraordinary work, our creative approach was to link together the various exhibition content elements −soundscapes, spectrograms, and Raymond Depardon and Claudine Nougaret’s film−into a cohesive, immersive experience. We have translated Bernie Krause’s recordings into a digital environment which 3-dimensionalizes sound and suggests scenes from the natural world. Displayed on large surface areas, the spectrograms form a landscape in the gallery environment, representing the various global locations and times of day in which Bernie Krause made the original recordings. On the floor, in front of the projection surfaces, there is a shallow pool of black-colored water that seamlessly reflects the content and brings another dimension to the work…” (United Visual Artists)



Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, “The Great Animal Orchestra”
Installation views, photo Luc Boegly.

Fondation-Cartier-orchestre-des-animaux-3d view-UVA

3D simulation of the installation “The Great Animal Orchestra”.Courtesy of United Visual Artists.

The third section features the video-installation Plankton, A Drifting World at the Origin of Life by artist Shiro Takatani, created in collaboration with composer Ryuichi Sakamoto.
The work is a visual and aural voyage through the surprising beauty of the marine micro-organisms which form the plankton. The project originates from the work of biologist Christian Sardet, who, in his Plankton Chronicle, disclosed to the public the research made by a group of scientists who sailed the oceans from 2009 to 2013 on board the schooner Tara.


Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, “The Great Animal Orchestra”
Installation view, photo Luc Boegly.


Christian Sardet, Hippopodius hippopus siphonophore, Bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer, France, 2011, 25 mm.© Christian Sardet and The Macronauts / Plankton Chronicles

The Great Animal Orchestra – CREDITS

1st part | Groundfloor
Scenography: TALLER Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo.
With Pierre Bodo, Cai Guo-Qiang, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, JP Mika, Moke, Manabu Miyazaki, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Cyprien Tokoudagba, Adriana Varejão, and Agnès Varda.

2nd part | Downstairs (big room)
Soundscapes: Bernie Krause
Installation: United Visual Artists
Film Projection: Raymond Depardon and Claudine Nougaret

3rd part |  Downstairs (small room)
Images: Christian Sardet
Installation: Shiro Takatani
Music: Ryuichi Sakamoto


This is the tuning of the great animal orchestra, a revelation of the acoustic harmony of the wild, the planet’s deeply connected expression of natural sounds and rhythm. It is the baseline for what we hear in today’s remaining wild places, and it is likely that the origins of every piece of music we enjoy and word we speak come, at some point, from this collective voice.
At one 
time there was no other acoustic inspiration.” (BERNIE KRAUSE)

Photo: Bernie Krause, Saint Vincent Island, Florida, 2001. Photo: Tim Chapman

All images courtesy of Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain

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