Sounds that are irritating and strange, multiplied and visually exaggerated, are a focal point in Zimoun’s installation work. Ping-pong balls that flip around at a high frequency, hundreds of motor-driven metal strings whipping a wall, or, the persistent crunching sounds of a colony of woodworms eating their way through a piece of wood, as seen in the video, “Woodworms, Microphones, Sound System”.
The sound of woodworms at work is amplified, creating an intriguing but also irksome soundscape. A sound that was quite common for our ancestors, but that rarely can be heard nowadays in our urbanized societies, has become disquietingly alien. The invisible process of woodworms digging a network of tunnels through wood structures, re-shaping of the wood, also represents an unwanted transformation of furniture, wooden floors, or other human structures. On the other side, it is a necessary natural process, part of a constant cycle of renewal through transformation.
Zimoun is a self-taught artist that is well known for his kinetic sculptures, which combine industrial materials such as cardboard and plastic with motors to create sonically reverberant installations. Zimoun’s works are both acoustic and visual, fueling an interaction between space and sound, while exploring systems of patterns that appear through the use of replicable elements.
Fascinated with sound and the visual arts from an early age, Zimoun now combines his earliest interests into architecturally smart and visually impressive compositions. Using simple motors, wires, and ventilators, Zimoun’s sculptures explore audio on a microscopic level. Installations are often poetic and graceful in their simplicity, while stammering sounds evoke a hypnotic experience with rhythm while visitors observe the mechanics of something caught between the artificial and living. He has cited composer and artist John Cage as being influential during his own creatively formative years.
Born in 1977 in Switzerland, Zimoun lives and works in Bern. He has presented solo and group shows and held residences in dozens of galleries around the world, and served as a guest lecturer. He received an honourable mention at the Prix Ars Electronica (2010) in the sound art category, for the work “216 prepared dc-motors / filler wire 1.0mm, 2009.”
Recent exhibitions include work with the Nam June Paik Art Museum in Korea; Ringling Museum of Art, Florida; Harnett Museum of Art, Richmond; bitforms gallery New York; Kunsthalle Bern; Seoul Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art Liechtenstein; Fine Arts Museum Rennes; Art Basel; and more.
Zimoun is also co-founder of leerraum.ch, a label specializing in minimalistic electronics and sound-art installations.