A close-up of finches on coathangers from Celeste Bourgier-Mougenot's artwork, From here to ear (v.13).

These Finches Are a Living Musical Artwork

21 February 2017

We all know birds are musical creatures, but the finches at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art are songbirds of a different kind.

In Celeste Bourgier-Mougenot’s artwork From here to ear (v.13) (Detail) 2010, dozens of finches flit between hanging structures made from coathangers, which surround delicate nests.

Their landings on these ‘instruments’ create a series of musical sounds that the artist says illustrate “you don’t need to control the sound to make nice music”.

It’s an extraordinary experience, stepping into the light and airy installation, watching the exceptionally pretty finches feed, fly, rest and make music.

 

Four Australian finch species inhabit the artwork – the zebra finch, Gouldian finch, black-throated finch and crimson finch. The artwork is supported by the Queensland Finch Society, and its volunteers care for the birds, alongside gallery staff.

The artistic instrument is part of the exhibition Sugar Spin: You, me, art and everything, which celebrates GoMA’s 10th anniversary.

Here are some more highlights of the exhibition.

Nervescape 2016 by Hrafnhildur Arnardottir

Nervescape 2016, Hrafnhildur Arnardottir. Image: QAGOMA Nervescape 2016, Hrafnhildur Arnardottir. Image: QAGOMA

A major new commission, featuring large-scale, multi-coloured landscape of synthetic hair.

Left/Right Slide 2010 by Carsten Holler

Left/Right Slide 2010, Carsten Holler. Image: QAGOMA Left/Right Slide 2010, Carsten Holler. Image: QAGOMA

The much-loved slide spirals visitors from the top floor of the gallery to the bottom.

In bed 2005 by Ron Mueck

In bed 2005, Ron Mueck. Image: QAGOMA In bed 2005, Ron Mueck. Image: QAGOMA

This oversized woman will make you believe giants exist.

Pix-cell Double Deer#4 2010 by Kohei Nawa

Pix-cell Double Deer#4 2010, Kohei Nawa. Image: QAGOMA Pix-cell Double Deer#4 2010, Kohei Nawa. Image: QAGOMA

Sugar Spin ends on April 17, 2017.

* Featured image: A detail from Celeste Bourgier-Mougenot's artwork From here to ear (v.13) (Detail) 2010.


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Renae Spinks

Travel for me is about conversations and connections. There’s nothing like setting foot in a new land and meeting people a world apart. From talking to North Sea fishermen in Norway’s Lofoten Islands to breakfast chat at a B&B in my own back yard, there’s always a story to share and a tale to tell.