The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presents the Canadian premiere of


Céleste Boursier-Mougenot (born in 1961)
View of the installation from here to ear (version hors série), dépôt du CNAP au Frac Franche-Comté, Besançon, France © Céleste Boursier-Mougenot. Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo © Blaise Adilon 2014

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

from here to ear v.19

In line with its ongoing policy of bringing the visual arts and music together, the Museum has invited French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot to present his living and ephemeral work. For this immersive installation, the Contemporary Art Square has been transformed into a giant aviary. The result is an astounding sonic arrangement featuring songbirds and electric guitars.

“This presentation is another in our programme of exhibitions where art and music intersect: following Imagine and Warhol Live, it was only natural for us to present the Canadian premiere of this magical, poetic work by artist and musician Céleste Boursier-Mougenot. It’s another first for the Museum, which is being transformed into a musical aviary—complete with live birds! We invite visitors to come and marvel at their collective performance,” said Nathalie Bondil, the Museum’s Director and Chief Curator.

52 Zebra Finches

10 Gibson Les Paul guitars and Fender amplifiers

4 Gibson Thunderbird basses and Roland amplifiers

multiple Zildjian cymbals used as water and food trays

An unusual musical pairing of birds and electric guitars, from here to ear v. 19 “stars” dozens of enchanting little zebra finches. Native to the Australian grasslands, they “perform” in their aviary while visitors are invited to stroll around. The finches perch on guitars and electric basses plugged into amplifiers, producing live sounds on instruments tuned to open blues tunings or rock power chords to create a lively, organic, ephemeral piece of music.

The first version of from here to ear was presented at MoMA PS1 in 1999. Since then, various works have been exhibited under the generic title from here to ear. While these installations share a common principle—an aviary where visitors can get close to the birds, whose activity creates a live piece of music—each installation is to be considered as a unique work determined by the circumstances of the exhibition setting. After New York, Paris, Milan, Linz in Austria, and Brisbane, this is the nineteenth presentation of the installation.

Boursier-MougenotBorn in Nice in 1961, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot lives and works in Sète, France. After serving as composer for writer and director Pascal Rambert’s Side One Posthume Théâtre company, the artist, a musician by training, began to give autonomous form to his music by creating installations. Since 1994, he has been combining visual arts and experimental music while making use of the codes of live entertainment. Starting with the most diverse situations or objects, he seeks out their musical potential, conceiving systems that extend the idea of a musical score to the unorthodox configurations of materials and media he uses to generate forms of sound that he calls “living” music.

The Museum is also working with a team of veterinary technicians, and an avian veterinarian visits regularly to ensure optimal living conditions for the finches are maintained.

For ticket prices and exhibit hours and other information, visit or call 514-285-2000.