Dominique Petitgand — L’oreille interne (The inner ear)



Dominique Petitgand
L’oreille interne (The inner ear)

Past: March 23 → May 18, 2013

The exhibition includes three artworks, two sound installations and a text work.

The sound installations Je siffle (2013) and Au bord du quai (2011, 2013) take place in the two large main spaces of the gallery, while Mes écoutes (2004, 2013), a series of texts on a video screen, occupies the small alcove. The installations leave the two spaces empty (floors and centers unoccupied), only the speakers occupy the periphery of the walls. They require a listener in motion, in search of the sounds, of their appearances, of their displacements (from one speaker to the other), the sounds perceived from afar or nearby. The two sound installations play with the particularly reverberating acoustics of the space, the space is blank, raw, the sounds resonate, each short sequence is followed by its echo, the sounds hit against the walls, bounce, misleading us about their source.

Je siffle, transmitted through five speakers that straddle the two main spaces, broadcasts a nearly musical dotted line, an extended succession, interrupted by silences, of a long frayed whistling’s fragments. A long broken whistling in search of its own melody, a primitive musical improvised speech — at the recording, proofread and corrected at the editing — without any preliminary thought, intention, preparation or construction, but nevertheless a live musical thought, created from its very self, moving forward at the mercy of melodious snippets, of suspended notes, of beginnings, suspensions, repetitions, hesitations, returns, variations. Musical thought, speech without words or language, degree zero of composition, the whistled sequences are broadcasted, one after the other, on the the five speakers, going from one to the other, the same way a person would do while walking around the gallery, without any other logic than that of the inner thought process.

As for Au bord du quai, it is located on two speakers hung from one of the walls of the second space, one can hear a series of recordings, at the edge of the platform, passings of full speed trains, and the feeling that someone cuts your head off, abrasive sequences, punctuated, flung, held back, by ultra-short percussive sounds, comparable to manipulations of glassware,

These micro-structured sequences, interrupted by very long silences, seem to happen almost by chance, right in the middle of the other work’s sequences, which they come to perturb, awaken, interfere with the two sound pieces in the exhibition are thus displayed in staggered rows, time-related speaking, space-related also (since one bites into the other’s space), the two sound installations seem to be temporally infinite.

Mes écoutes is a silent work, hung at the back of the alcove, a video screen plays one after the other, the time required to read each of them, a series of 136 short texts in white letters on a black background. This is a project that i initiated in 2004, the set displayed is the most recent version to date.

Each text describes how I listen in my own life, I am the listener who says I, a miraculous situation, a usual behavior, a memory, a state, from memory or described on the spot, each text has a title, is at the same time autonomous and the component of a whole. This long onscreen display appears to have no beginning and no end, and is intended, unlike the sound installations that require a moving listener, for an immobile reader, seated on a bench. 

Dominique Petitgand
Source : Work notes, February 2013
Gb agency / Level one Gallery
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18, rue des 4 Fils

75003 Paris

T. 01 44 78 00 60

Official website

Filles du Calvaire

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 1 PM / 2 PM – 7 PM

The artist

  • Dominique Petitgand