Big angle

When music settles in the museum

Electro / Philharmonic exhibition. Reconstitution of the studio of Jean-Michel Jarre. © RFI / Valérie Passelègue


A great expo on electro, another on the link between immigration and music in Paris and London ... Music has largely been anchored in French museums. Behind the "giving to see" what is usually heard, there is the desire for these cultural institutions to renew themselves and rejuvenate their audience.

Monday is closing day at the Musée d'Orsay. But Abd Al Malik answers our questions directly on the route of the exhibition The Black Model, from Géricault to Matisse . The singer, who has closely followed his preparation, wrote his latest book-disc, The young black with the sword , inspired by the painting of the same name shown on this occasion, and most importantly, he created his new show which mixes music, dance, and poetry, in the auditorium of the great Parisian museum.

A singer at the museum? "I come from the street, from the city.When I was a kid, there were places that were not for us.It was places of culture.In fact, growing up, I realized that there is no place that is closed to anyone, I'm here to say, 'It's your place here,' "he says. The Musée d'Orsay has found a new ambassador, a sign that music has found anchorage in its walls.

In the old Orsay train station, the classical repertoire has been part of the program for thirty years. But the phenomenon has accelerated, thanks to concerts of "current music" organized inside the museum itself. In the middle of the statues of the central aisle, we could see La Maison Tellier, Chassol, Nosfell or Mad Hatter. For a year, musical walks lead visitors directly under the paintings of Monet, Van Gogh, Cezanne and other Gustave Courbet.

Why does an institution like this, need music? Are the masterpieces in his collection not enough? "To be alive, museums need to offer new perspectives on their collections and to increase the number of entry points, not just the eyes of curators and historians of art, but also of artists. " , observes Luc Bouniol-Laffont, its director of" cultural programming ".

"Get inspired by the aesthetics of the party"

Even for a world-renowned institution, the challenge is "audience renewal" , that is, to reach a younger and wider audience. Music is an integral part of this renewal, when it does not occupy the first place. Reggae, great French singers, musicals, soon Picasso or rap ... With its Museum of Music and its temporary exhibitions, the Philharmonie de Paris has made a specialty in the field since its opening in 1997 .

Thanks to its thousand instruments - on a background of 7,000 - the museum traces "a history of music, mainly Western and learned," which opens gradually. "We will reconstruct the studio of the composer of concrete music Pierre Henry , explains Thierry Maniguet, one of its curators.The interactive dimension will be very strong.We will have machines to understand the genesis of his music.In the studio, we will learn to arrange sounds, and we can manipulate a synthesizer on which will be explained each step of the sound synthesis. "

Temporary exhibitions, which are generally interested in pop music after the 1950s, complete this picture. Each time, it is a question of "giving to see" what one listens to, usually in concerts or in one's living room. "How to give visibility? How to make the translation of music not naive? Or too conceptual? What scenography to adapt to the subject? This is our daily work , " says Marie-Pauline Martin, director of the Philharmonie , which manages a team of ten conservatives year-round.

While it is rather entertaining, the music requires treasures of imagination to expose itself. The big Electro exhibition , from Kraftwerk to Daft Punk , was to start the exhibition at the entrance of the buildings and to "take inspiration from the aesthetics of the festival" , according to Jean-Yves Leloup, its curator . Keyboards, drum machines and consoles are on a par with contemporary works of art or large format photographs. Similarly, the soundtrack of the exhibition, mixed by Laurent Garnier, resonates very strongly throughout the course.

© National Museum of the History of Immigration

Poster of the exhibition "Paris-London Music Migrations (1962-1989)".

Music: the medium of youth

Fetish objects or works of contemporary art? Tapping stations or archive videos? At the Palais de la Porte Doree, which is currently devoting a very rich retrospective to the link between migration and music in Paris and London from 1962 to the end of the 1980s, the choice was made not to offer an audioguide or " helmet course " to be able to share" the visit. The course evokes "all that surrounds the music" : the fans, passers of music, movements against racism ...

This is the first time that the Museum of the History of Immigration has devoted an exhibition to music, even though it was present until then in its course and enamelled some of its temporary exhibitions. The Paris-London exhibition. Music Migrations , which is one of the most well-documented music shows, includes many items owned by private collectors or in-person artists, which requires a lot of effort from museums.

Museums themselves change their faces. They are often, like the Philharmonie de Paris or the Institute of the Arab World, institutions "multi-disciplinary", which combine several forms of arts and artistic expressions. "There are two phenomena that intersect," says Hélène Orain, Director of the Palais de la Porte Dorée, " The old boundaries between cultural institutions are disappearing, concerts are taking place in museums, and heritage is being made in theaters. and the concert halls, there is this emergence of hybrid places, but what matters is that we go see ... And even if we are not too touched at the Golden Gate, we do not have too much If we do not do anything, the museum public will grow old, so we need to widen the audience towards the youth, and that youth does not have the codes and we need to bring them bring it to our land. "

Next year, the Halle de la Villette will welcome from the spring a French adaptation of the exhibition Revolutions - Records & rebels , already presented at the Victoria & Albert in London, which returns to the late 1960s. the Philharmonie, which sits a hundred meters away, the park of La Villette, in the nineteenth arrondissement, will then know which exhibition to be dedicated.

Official website of the Musée d'Orsay
Official site of the Philharmonie de Paris
Official website of the Museum of the History of Immigration

By: Bastien Brun

French Song - Electro - World Music - exhibition - France