When the Eyes Imbibe Noise

Noise surrounds us, it is inside us, it is everywhere. It besieges us constantly. It is a dishevelled heap, a sonorous and protean mass in opposition to all separate and distinct sonorities. It is undesirable. The composer of noise, or bruitiste, for his part, creates sound images, imitiations and sound simulations using objects. These objects are so unrelated to the subject evoked that they provoke astonishment. Many of my installations rest on this principle of the gap between the object, its usual function and its sound potential. Musicality (free-form) and sonorous evocations of a mysterious animal world emerge through the intermediary of a panoply of heterogeneous mechanized objects. Noise interests me when the encounter is fortuitous, when recognizable sound suddenly emerges in all its sonorous particularity. Then, just as suddenly, all music, all speech, all song become disturbing noise: for a moment reality is turned on its head and a new cycle of creation then begins. It is difficult to dwell very long in this parallel dimension, this wormhole. That is why I try to create brief moments of elation that activate the ear so it is no longer an organ waiting to be stuffed like a goose. At those moments, the ears are mouth and eye at once; they observe carefully, stealthily, and greedily imbibe the sound. The challenge is to leave the experience with both ears intact. My wish in making sound installations has always been to recreate these special moments.

Text by Jean-Pierre Gauthier

Translation by Erin Moure


Montreal artist Jean-Pierre Gauthier, who has been active on the contemporary art since the mid-1990s, has a hybrid practice that incorporates visual arts and audio exploration. A virtuoso of everyday reality, an artisan of contemporary art, an entomologist of sound, He sees, and hears, all the acoustic and metaphorical potential of the found object, his kinetic installations incorporate humour and poetry in a highly rigorous artistic approach. With rare ingenuity, his works embody contrasting ideas such as order and chaos, permanence and fragility, orchestration and randomness. These composite installations produce a wide range of visual, kinetic and auditory stimuli, resulting in an intense, almost dizzying experience. It is this feeling of vertigo, almost exultation, that embodies the full power of his works. (Pierre Landry- Curator at the MACM 2007)

He was the winner of the prestigious Sobey Art Award in 2004, also recipient of the Victor Martyn Lynch-Stauton Award in 2005 and Louis -Comtois Award 2012. His last solo show in New York was considered by the Village Voice as one of the best shows in 2011. He has exhibited his audio and kinetic installations across Canada, in Europe, Asia and America. Notable among his group exhibitions are Montreal's Biennale 2000, Electrohype 2006, Lunds Konsthall, and Transmediale.06 – Smile Machines, Akademie der Künste, Berlin (2006), Tonspur_expended, Vienna, Austria (2010), Manif, Québec, (2012), FIMAV (2012),Victoriaville, Québec, File Festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2012) and Electrohype 2013 (Värnhemstrogets Elektroniska Skulpturpark, Malmö, Sweden. A retrospective of his work Jean-Pierre Gauthier: Machines at Play was organised by the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal and was showed in 5 Canadian Museum and at the Akron Art Museum (Ohio,USA). Since 1998, he collaborated as a artist-musician in various sound festivals and venues with different groups including accomplished and professional musicians like Martin Tétreault, Diane Labrosse, Michel F. Coté, Christof Migone, Jean Derome, Mirko Sabatini, Vincezo Vasi.

He is represented by Ellephant (Montreal)


Links about a tour of my solo survey show organised by the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal :

These two are from Akron, Ohio, USA.


Mes voix d'intérieur

Limited edition of 60

Label : Oral CDr 51

L'agonie d'une machine

Limited edition of 60

Label : Oral CDr 50

Outside in / Inside out

Limited edition of 60

Label : Oral CDr 49

Thorax (sound of an installation)

Limited edition of 50

Label : Oral CDr 38

Last Sound

Music by Duo Travagliando (JP Gauthier- Mirko Sabatini) on the italian label La Arti Malandrine

web site of the duo works :

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