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Zimoun’s Extraordinary Mechanical Installations Are An Immersive Experience Of Sound And Motion

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Renowned Swiss artist Zimoun creates architectural sound installations which can be visited and explored acoustically like a building. Minimalist, precise, and technical, his artworks are a study of the complex relationships between sound and space, statics and balance, and technology and the organic.

The artist is known for using lo-fi technology to create sonic sculptures and installations that appear as large architectural works of art. Showcased in museums around the globe; his works reference the technology around us and deal with the creation of rhythms through industrial raw materiality and micro-mechanisms arranged with surgical precision. Fascinated by themes of immediacy and structural simplicity, the Bern-based artist is interested in repetitive and reductive principles and in the intricate properties of sound, motion, and space. He uses movement and the unique acoustic of the exhibition space to create site-specific works, which bring visual, sonic, and spatial elements into one immersive experience.

Cerveau Morille, CAN, Neuchâtel, 2012

'198 prepared dc-motors, wire isolated, cardboard boxes 30x30x8cm', 2012, installation view, CAN, Neuchatel, Switzerland.

Zimoun’s sculptures and installations incorporate simple mechanical devices such as vibration motors, industrial flotsam-like speaker arrays, PVC hoses, metal wire, polymeric, steel, but also objects such as ventilators, pendulums, cardboard boxes, and sticks. Installed in large quantities and used in repetition, the materials examine the generation and degeneration of patterns, resulting in intricate systems and units organized by very rigid exposition rules. Titled after the constituent elements of the artwork, his works remain abstract and encourage viewers to interpret what they see by relying on the direct experience of their senses. In other words, Zimoun asks the visitors to his works to make an effort in their imagination and act on the completion of the work.

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'329 prepared dc-motors, cotton balls, toluene tank', 2013, permanent installation, Dottikon, Switzerland.

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'361 prepared dc-motors, filler wire 1.0mm', 2010, installation view, Swiss Art Awards, Basel, Switzerland.

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'300 prepared dc-motors, 27kg wood', 2016, installation view, Musée des Beaux Arts MBAL, Le Locle, Switzerland.

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'510 prepared dc-motors, 2142m rope, wooden sticks 20cm', 2019, installation view, NYUAD Art Gallery, Abu Dhabi.

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'117 prepared dc-motors, 210 kg wood, 170m rope', 2016, installation view, Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, Taiwan.

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'157 prepared dc-motors, cotton balls, cardboard boxes 60x20x20cm', 2014, installation view, private collection.

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'186 prepared dc-motors, cotton balls, cardboard boxes 60x60x60cm', 2013, installation view, Musée des Beaux-Arts Rennes, France.

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'658 prepared dc-motors, cotton balls, cardboard boxes 70x70x70cm', 2017, installation view, Le Centquatre Paris, France.

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'255 prepared ac-motors, rope, cardboard boxes 30x30x30cm', 2017, installation view, Le Centquatre Paris, France.

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'40 prepared ac-motors, 93 kg paper black', 2016, installation view, Art Museum Thun, Switzerland.

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'64 ventilators, 98m² polyethyleen foil 0.08mm', 2015, installation view, STRP Biennal, Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

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'36 ventilators, 4.7m³ packing chips', 2014, installation view, Art Museum Lugano, Switzerland.

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'1944 prepared dc-motors, mdf panels 72x72 cm, metal discs Ø 8 cm', 2020, installation view, Warehouse Jaeger-LeCoultre, Geneva, Switzerland.

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'43 prepared dc-motors, 31.5kg packing paper', 2013, installation view, Orbital Garden Bern, Switzerland.

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'317 prepared dc-motors, paper bags, shipping container', 2016, installation view, Le Centquatre Paris, France.

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'318 prepared dc-motors, cork balls, cardboard boxes 100x100x100cm', 2013, installation view, Opernwerkstätten Berlin, Germany.

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'28 prepared dc-motors, 168 m hemp cord, 279 m² paper', 2018, installation view, Kontejner, Zagreb, Croatia.

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Images © Courtesy of Zimoun