artist / participant

press release

Slought Foundation is pleased to announce J'entends les trains depuis toujours / I keep hearing the trains for ever, a three-part video exhibition by French artist Tania Mouraud. The project, presented by the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) and produced by the Slought Foundation, will be on display in April and May 2011 and is curated by Marie-Claire Groeninck and Jean-Michel Rabate.

Since the beginning of the 1970s, Tania Mouraud has been creating an oeuvre which encompasses spatial installations, performances, wall paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and films. The essence of her creations stems from the instinctive and precise sense of perception she uses to compose each piece and each time propose a statement to the viewer. Tania Mouraud's work is emotionally invasive and committed. As Catherine Grenier, associate director of the Centre Pompidou has suggested, "she addresses sight and mind, as well as body, which is the primary agency of her art. In all the artist's works, the viewer's receptivity and subjectivity are taken to task, with the work being simultaneously in the aesthetic, intellectual and emotional register and range." (People call me Tania Mouraud, 2010).

The exhibition J'entends les trains depuis toujours concentrates on Tania Mouraud's videos and video installations, a medium that she has tackled for the last decade. These pieces further address the sensory concerns she began to explore in the earlier stages of her career. The choreography of the moving images and the sound composition pit their strength against the walls. The viewer’s perception is dissected into the volume of the exhibition space, as the borderline between figuration and abstraction is at stake.

At Slought Foundation, on display from March 31-April 20, 2011, the artist will premier a new installation titled No Name, accompanied by her earlier film Sightseeing (2002) and the installation Roaming (2008). An opening reception with the artist in conversation with curators Marie-Claire Groeninck and Jean-Michel Rabate will take place on March 31 from 6:30-8:30pm.

The images from Sightseeing (2002) and No Name (2011) tend to be achromatic and Roaming (2008) is black-and-white. There are almost no colors here. The images have been choreographed according to the movements of the camera, which communicate ancient fears, memories of dramatic historical events, and, as the artist has suggested, "questions about life and the survival of species." The images of bodies and faces in motion and the filmed landscapes are scattered in different scales, directing the vision in a space filled with sound. They are metaphors--strange metaphors that hide their message until all sensations together in space and time and speak out.

At the Philadelphia Art Alliance, on display from April 8-May 8, 2011, a selection of video installations will explore the early video works of Tania Mouraud. From the very beginning, this medium was a way for her to introduce movement and a sense of narration in her art. It also, paradoxically enough, references the history of painting. Although she films real life without alteration, the framing, composition, and the editing of the moving image often tends toward abstraction. In La Curée (the quarry, 2003-04), an installation of 12 monitors dispersed on the floor, the reds, ochers, and browns melt violently in a chiaroscuro that blurs the one’s vision. Maybe that is just a way to express the idea of madness, the madness of mankind, which is the same one can see in Le Verger, as opposed the silence of 5892's clapping hands.

The artist will be performing live during a one night only event on Friday, April 8 at 7:00 pm at the Art Alliance.

At the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, on display from April 7-May 1, 2011, the artist will exhibit Diary (2006), a suite of 24 pocket videos she shot in India, Paris, and other places, according to her peregrinations. It is the antithesis of a large-scale installation. The work was shot with a cell phone and will be displayed on the micro-screens of iPods. No editing was performed, and the immediacy of the images embodies the intimacy of an artist's life, eyesight, and wandering thoughts. As Mouraud has remarked: "I made this video diary, the way I'd draw sketches. (...) There is no detachment, just curiosity."

Tania Mouraud was born in 1942 in Paris, France. Her initial foray into the arts was the auto-da-fe of her paintings (performance in Villejuif, France, 1969). She started to question the mechanism of perception by creating the Initiation Rooms, a series of white-lit sensory environments in which musicians including Terry Riley and La Monte Young were invited to play (Turin, 1971). With Memory of a Non-Existent Seeing (PS1, New-York, 1977), Mouraud embraced the analytical tools of conceptualism: "The sentence forms in the mind as a result of grouping separate visual perceptions, and, as such, is never perceived but conceived. Once conceived it declares itself to be: memory of a non-existent seeing”. In 1977-78, the City Performance No.1 was one manifestation of a universal form of protest. "NI" means both "neither" and "nor" in French. She had this word displayed in a very graphic black-and-white font on billboards throughout the city of Paris. This would be followed by black-and-white wall paintings and wood reliefs of the 1980s, which further engaged the responsibility of the artist, including the Black Power and Black Continent series, both exhibited at the Power Plant in Toronto in 1992. A wall painting now on permanent display at the Centre Pompidou in Paris states: "what you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG, 1989-2007); another at the FRAC Lorraine in Metz asks, "How can you sleep?" (HCYS, 2005). Recently, photography, filming, and sound composition prevailed in Mouraud’s work. Her recent digital series Borderland (2008) sign her return to photography, long after the early gelatin silver prints of the Made in Palace series (1981). Her most recent video and sound installations include La Fabrique (2006) created for Tri Postal in Lille, France; Ad Infinitum (2009) for the Chapel choir of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes, France; and Face to Face (2009) for the Musée Bourdelle in Paris. From 1976 to 2005, Tania Mouraud was a tenured Professor of Intermedia at Ecole des Beaux-Arts (ERSEP) Tourcoing, France. In 2009, she was appointed to the rank of Chevalier in the Order of Merit by the French Minister of Culture.

Tania Mouraud
J'entends les trains depuis toujours / I keep hearing the trains for ever