Zimoun: A Series of Immersive Sound Sculptures

510 Prepared DC-Motors, 2142 m Rope, Wooden Sticks 20 cm - Zimoun's new commission at the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery. Photography John Varghese.

Curated by the University’s Chief Curator Maya Allison, this exhibition is open until June 1

Press Release

NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Art Gallery presents the work of acclaimed Swiss artist Zimoun.  Open until June 1, 2019, this landmark survey marks the first time the artist has exhibited his work in the Gulf, and is curated by Chief Curator at NYU Abu Dhabi Maya Allison.

This exhibition features five immersive audio-visual installations, including a major new commission, an expansive room-sized installation.  The other four are site-specific adaptations of Zimoun’s previous installations, and each of the works will be unique to the Gallery. Each work is both a sound composition and a sculpture, and each has at its core a basic unit of every-day objects – for example, a motor, a cotton ball, and a cardboard box – which the artist installs in large quantities until it fills the available space in the Gallery.

  • NYUAD Art Gallery has commissioned a major new work, 510 Prepared DC-Motors, 2142 m Rope, Wooden Sticks 20 cm, a single, large installation that will fill the entire central space of the Gallery, 20 meters deep. 
  • 37 Prepared DC-Motors, 85 m Rope, Steel Washers Ø 40 mm, is a wall piece using a simple mechanical system that causes a curtain of string and washers to dance. 
  • 192 Prepared DC-Motors, Wooden Sticks 2.4 m, is a wall-hanging of motorised wooden sticks installed in a long corridor in the Gallery. This is an iteration of a work previously shown at the Contemporary Art Museum, MAC Santiago de Chile. 
  • 269 Prepared DC-Motors, Cotton Balls, Cardboard Boxes 60x60x60 cm soars 10 meters up into the Gallery’s double-height atrium area, a circular tower of cardboard boxes in which cotton balls clatter against the boxes to create a deep rumble. This tower is among Zimoun’s signature works, and has been adapted to multiple venues since 2013, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Rennes (France), STRP Biennial (Eindhoven, Netherlands), among others. 
  • 31 Prepared DC-Motors, 31 m Rope, Wooden Sticks 19 cm,  Cardboard Boxes 10x10x10 cm, is made of small sticks that dance a percussion in very small boxes.

“Watching Zimoun and his studio installing this massive exhibition over a two-week period alongside student interns and local artist assistants has energized me, and deepened my understanding of the architectural and sonic qualities of his work. He has said that he thinks of his work as ‘audible buildings’ that we can explore as much with our ears as with our eyes. Faculty from Engineering, Sculpture, Music, and Interactive Media have all brought their students to visit the installation in progress to learn from the artist, as we, as a society, consider our future buildings, and the soundscapes we inhabit in daily life .” 

Executive Director of the NYUAD Art Gallery and the University's Chief Curator Maya Allison

During my time here installing this show, I spent the weekend in the desert. I was struck by its quality of silence. When it is that silent, it changes how we listen. That kind of listening, as if listening to silence, is in fact what my own work is about, although the installations make sound.”

Artist Zimoun

The NYUAD Art Gallery has also commissioned the first book-length publication on Zimoun, edited by Allison, with five essays from international scholars.

About the Artist

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. Zimoun co-founded Leerraum, (translated meaning ‘empty space’), a project to produce 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.

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.