Studio with Cecil Touchon
Collage works in Sound,
Text and Image
Living the last four years in the central
Mexico city of Cuernavaca, Cecil Touchon gives us a rare glance into the
startlingly wide range of his creative working process.
Touchon explores the various strands
of the construct he identifies as the 'massurreality' - the meta
discourse of globalization as it relates to modernist art and its aspirations
to radically recreate the world in a utopian fashion. Touchon's installation
of hundreds of works on paper, digital photographs, notes, poems, and sound
collages in constant loop on several portable CD players connected to headphones,
seeks to overwhelm the viewer with an inordinate amount of information
intended to simulate his sense of information overload as typified by the
Internet the ultimate expression of Modernist Culture.
A basic premise of the exhibition is that
we are living in the future world designed by the modernist pioneers of
the creative community between the World Wars of the 20th Century and which
only existed as a science fiction type dream of the future only 80 years
ago. Touchon's exhibit seems to ask the question; 'So where to from here?'
As one stops to ponder the message presented
by Touchon's exhibit, it becomes clear that the exhibit is the product
of a multifarious inquiry into the variegated intentions of many different
avant garde artistic heritages from the past with the purpose being to
find the spiritual underpinings that give our present modern life a value
worth spending one's time to pursue. These heritages include Constructivism,
Minimalism, de Stijl, Bauhaus, Cubism, Futurism, Letterism, Fluxus and
other visual idioms of the last 100 years that Touchon combines, recombines,
mutates and contorts in order to find new and unexpected combinations.
Touchon maintains his center in seeking out and exploiting elegant abstract
relationships from the heaps of visual material his work compiles and explores.
It this doesn't seem enough to cause overload,
add to it a several inch thick pile of 'collage poems' constructed by Touchon
from material gleaned from email correspondences, spam mail, text from
web pages found through strange search processes on Google's search
engine and other digital sources that are cut and pasted line by unrelated
line into ambiguous yet provocative clusters of intuitively poetic
It is clear that these are not wholly random,
such as John Cage might have constructed by mechanical means but rather
are the product of gathering and constructing the lines of text into collages
not unlike his visual works. Other compilations of notes, books in progress
and the like are on view.
Then there are the sound collages called Massurrealist
Meditations that can only be heard through the earphones attached to portable
CD players where several minutes of constructed sound works are playing
on continuous loop so you don't know where they start or stop. These works
are composed of sounds from Touchon's field recordings of Paris subways,
Mexican market places and water parks and/or 'found noises' that Touchon
appropriates from unnamed sources on the internet which he manipulates
and alters with audio editing software on his computer in the manor of
which is currently known as Microsound. The works range in emotive content
from frantic to sublime to humorous and clever.
In addition there are digital photographs
taken of scrambled TV images that have then been blown up, amplified, edited,
isolated into lyrical abstract relationships of color and form. And there's
more! But you'll just have to go see the show for yourself.