New installation by Zimoun, opening 26. April: 36 ventilators, 4.7m³ packing chips

April 24, 2014 -- Even though the swirling of the polystyrene in the depth of each of the windows is actually limited to that space, we have the impression that the movement is propagating to the whole length of the Limonaia. To the visual effect adds the ticking of chips on the window panes, which could remind a thin but insistent rain. If, instead, we cross the threshold and get inside the space, the perception produced by the ebb and flow of the chips changes radically becoming more abstract; the movement appears mechanical rather than natural, the buzzing of the ventilators covers up the ticking of the polystyrene on the windows and thus reveals the artificial origin of the motion.

The whirling of the flakes is in fact the product of the of thirty-six ventilators, four in each window. As illustrated in this catalogue, the use of mechanical devices and the bewildering visual and acoustic effects they produce, are a common feature in Zimoun’s work.

This is not the place to analyse in detail the origin of Zimoun’s style and his relationship to other artists of today or of the recent past; a few indications are nonetheless useful. Zimoun’s research is triggered by the curiosity for sound and its reproduction. His works must therefore be considered, in the first place, as visualizations of acoustic effects. Carsten Nicolai and Ryoji Ikeda, two artists working with the elementary units of sound and their optical translation, can be mentioned among Zimoun’s closest relatives in the realm of art. A comparison can also be drawn with the work of Gianni Colombo dealing with elementary structures and with constructions interfering with the perception of space, even though the artist’s works rely on visual effects only. In Zimoun’s installations, on the contrary, the reverberation of sound plays a fundamental role in the perception of space. And such perception must be as free as possible, unbiased by elements which are independent from the work itself: also for this reason the title of the installation in the Limonaia – 36 Ventilators, 4.7 m3 Packing Chips – is not evocative, but plainly descriptive, just like those of all his previous creations.

Noise, repetition, relationship to architecture, are all aspects that, taken by themselves contribute to Zimoun’s work, but do not explain it. It is the sum of these elements which generates the short-circuit in perception which defines his installations: we are not used to associating the noise produced by a thousand rhythms with the rooms we inhabit and the solicitation of our senses in the artist’s installations evokes the disquieting frenzy of beehives or anthills and transfers to closed spaces the sum of perceptions we are used to finding only in nature, where the whish of the wind adds up to the trembling of leaves, to the ticking of the rain, to the gurgling of water. Zimoun thus artificially recreates the chaos of nature in a laboratory. The swirling of the polystyrene chips, lit at night time by halogen spotlights, recalls experiments on blizzards, waves breaking in glass tubes, the swarming of insects in glass cases.

Zimoun’s installation fascinates us because it reveals what is otherwise invisible: the absolute precision of the mechanisms lying behind the unpredictability of all phenomena. The simplicity and perfection of the works of the artist, which is clearly expressed here by the neat setting of the ventilators, the alignment of the supply cables, the pure white of the polystyrene, produces effects that, as they sum up, greatly exceed our power of understanding.

Artist: Zimoun

Materials, Dimensions & Credits:

Motors, metal, styrofoam, nylon, wood, controlling system. 
Installation view: Art Museum Lugano, Switzerland.

Curated by Guido Comis & Cristina Sonderegger.

Photographies and video courtesy Studio Zimoun ©

Video on Vimeo: 


Art, Contemporay Art, Sound Art, Installation


Art Museum Lugano:


Compilation Video:


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