‘Soundwaves: The Art of Sampling’ opens at MCASD


By Manny Lopez

La Jolla Light

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla has opened its latest exhibition, “Soundwaves: The Art of Sampling,” which will run through Dec. 30. The show includes a mixture of different types of contemporary art that explores the connection between visual arts and sound.

The exhibit’s curator, Dr. Stephanie Hanor, said “The show is about having an experience that opens up people’s understanding of what art can be. All of the works displayed in this exhibit are about creating experiences, whether auditory or a combination of auditory and visual, which engage the senses, and I think all of the artists in this show do that to very good effect. Visitors to the exhibit can expect to be intrigued by the pieces.”

Among the works displayed, one which visitors will see first is by Celeste Boursier-Mougenot. The work is untitled and consists of three inflatable swimming pools, the kind typically seen in backyards for children. The pools contain heated water which is then circulated by motors. Each pool is filled with porcelain bowls and crystal glasses that were selected for their unique sound and visual qualities. They collide into one another as they circulate around the pool, and the sound they create has been described as both distinctive and beautiful.

A French artist whose work has typically been associated with gallery spaces for the visual arts, Mougenot specializes in “soundart.” Both a composer and visual artist, he has worked in several different contexts. Anthony Allen, associate director of the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York, has worked with Mougenot in the past and said “his work always encompasses some sound dimension. He’s interested in extracting sound from the most unexpected and quotidian materials. He approaches his work as much with his eyes as he does with his ears. He is looking to create a piece that is visually arresting, but also something that creates live sound in real-time that’s not recorded or composed.”

Also on display will be work from Christian Marclay. Allen has also worked with Marclay and said “he is a versatile artist whose work involves collages, sculpture, video, painting, drawing and photography. His work always relates to sound, and what he is doing is trying to blur the boundaries between what you see and what you hear. He comes from a tradition of using materials that are usually connected with sound, like record covers, instruments, magnetic tape or things that our culture usually associates with the production of sound and music, and turns them into something completely unexpected. His work is truly mesmerizing.”

Tim Bavington’s work explores the purely visual representation of sound through stripe