658 prepared dc-motors, cotton balls, cardboard boxes. Courtesy of Studio Zimoun

NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery's spring exhibition by Swiss installation artist opens to the public on February 26, 2019

Press Release

In Spring 2019, the NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Art Gallery, the University’s academic museum-gallery, will present the work of acclaimed Swiss artist Zimoun. Curated by Chief Curator at NYU Abu Dhabi and Executive Director of the NYUAD Art Gallery Maya Allison, this landmark survey will mark the first time the artist has exhibited his work in the Gulf.

Open to the public from February 26 – June 1, 2019, this exhibition will feature five immersive audio-visual installations, including a major new commission, an expansive room-sized installation that will be unveiled on the opening night.

Zimoun constructs extraordinary, immersive sensory experiences using lo-fi, analogue motors connected to various functional objects, like wooden sticks, cardboard boxes, and foil. All of the sound in his installations comes from the movement of these simple objects.

He creates chaos from underlying systems of order, exploring elements of biology, engineering, music, sound, and installation art. When a visitor walks into one of his minimalistic mechanized sculptures, they’re confronted with a unique and compelling visual soundscape, one that simultaneously evokes the urban experience while eliciting almost physical memories of natural sounds (rain, sandstorms, or wind).

The exhibition will also activate the Gallery’s reading room with multi-channel compositions from a record label project that Zimoun co-founded, Leerraum, (translated meaning ‘empty space’) which produces experimental music projects on CD, DVD, print, and sound objects, with nearly 100 works from 50 international artists and designers, illustrating once more the immersive nature of Zimoun’s work.

"I explore simple systems which involve various complexities in sound and motion. Through primitive mechanical systems, I look to activate simple and raw materials which then start to develop a complex behaviour. The sounds my installations produce are generated immediately through the activation of the materials themselves. In fact, I like to refer to my work as 'Primitive Complexities'."

Swiss artist Zimoun

“It is a great honor to bring such a unique and important artist to the UAE for the first time. This exhibition will find connections with many of NYUAD’s academic departments (Engineering, Interactive Media, Visual Arts, and Music), as well as the UAE audiences, particularly families and emerging artists. I’ve followed Zimoun’s work for almost a decade, as he’s shown at increasingly major venues on every continent, in major museums and experimental venues. In keeping with our larger mission, part of this project is to generate a deeper body of knowledge around his highly unusual audio-visual practice. We aim to do this in the form of a substantial book of commissioned essays to accompany the exhibition.”

Chief Curator at NYU Abu Dhabi and Executive Director of the NYUAD Art Gallery Maya Allison

Zimoun lives and works in Bern, Switzerland. His work has been presented internationally, highlights of which include the Museum of Contemporary Art MAC Santiago de Chile; Nam June Paik Art Museum Seoul; Kuandu Museum Taipei; Ringling Museum of Art Florida; Mumbai City Museum; National Art Museum Beijing; LAC Museum Lugano; Seoul Museum of Art; Museum MIS São Paulo; Kunsthalle Bern; Taipei Fine Arts Museum; Le Centquatre Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art Busan; Museum of Fine Arts MBAL; and Kunstmuseum Bern, among others.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.