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CAPC musee d’art contemporain de Bordeaux announces SIGMA

CAPC musee d’art contemporain de Bordeaux presents SIGMA open November 14, 2013–March 2, 2014.

Graphic design: Maquette et Mise en page
Graphic design: Maquette et Mise en page
Beginning to tell the story of Sigma Festival in Bordeaux is as impossible as trying to make an exhaustive list of the events organised between 1965 and 1996, unless one possesses an overwhelming taste for the most extravagant associations—indeed, what could be more far removed, and even contradictory, in its most fecund acceptation, than Karlheinz Stockhausen and Soft Machine, Nicolas Schöffer and Ben Vautier, Sankaï Juku and kinetic art, Lucinda Childs, Philip Glass and John Vaccaro’s Play-House of Ridiculous, Jan Fabre, the Living Theatre and the Performance Group, Sun Ra and his Intergalactic Research Arkestra and Cathy Berberian, Carmelo Bene and Werner Herzog, and also Miles Davis, Klaus Nomi, Pierre Henry, Carolyn Carlson, Lucinda Childs, Pink Floyd, Magma among many others…

Sigma: thirty years of gatherings devoted to experimental creation in all its forms, thousands of shows, concerts, films, exhibitions, and debates, hundreds of creations and world premieres. And then there is what remains of it: ten thousand or so photographs, three hundred posters and flyers, forty or so publications, newspaper cuttings, all too rare filmed or recorded snippets, and the intangible, yet vivid and intense, memories of tens of thousands of participants, who were all shaken, moved, and transformed by this radical aesthetic adventure.

How can one render an accurate account, within the space and time of a single exhibition, of what was once an occasion of experiencing the instant, encounters, and “traffic in the unknown,” to quote Rimbaud’s phrase? This is the issue at play in this unprecedented collaborative project between a museum dedicated to contemporary artistic creation and two institutions that retain the written, drawn, photographed, and filmed sources of our collective memory.

Faced with the thousands of artistic events presented by Sigma, the CAPC choses to privilege the most experimental practices, the ones that redefined the outlines of their respective disciplines, even if this meant inventing new ones. Experiments which use time and space as materials therefore shatter the frozen frames of categories—theatre leaves area of the stage, bodies loosen, exhibitions become works of art, and art itself requires the public’s participation. Randomness and improvisation are the new mottos which enable music, cinema, literature and the other disciplines mentioned above to move into unknown aesthetic regions.

The black and white of the photographs, the statements, and the TV clips of the time now seem powerless to render the excitement of this all-encompassing aesthetic experience. To honour the sharing spirit of Sigma, the CAPC made its goal to daily broadcast a recording of a piece in its entirety—a play, a choreography, a concert, or a film—depending on available documents or by calling upon the generosity of artists themselves to loan us their pieces when we were faced with cruel shortages. The original archives are opened for consultation for those who wish it, whether they are researchers or simply curious, with the help of an archivist. The activation of the archives will also be achieved through the stimulation of memory—the immaterial archive: every week, a conference hosted by a specialist and a session with a Sigma “devotee” will provide occasions for a whole new experience of Sigma.

The exhibition SIGMA is conceived by CAPC musée d’art contemporain, Archives municipales of Bordeaux, INA, in collaboration with Patricia Brignone, art critic, under the artistic direction of Charlotte Laubard and Agnès Vatican.

CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux
Entrepôt. 7, rue Ferrère
F-33000 Bordeaux, France