Man with guitar

Live action, 2012 Dimensions and durations event-specific

Man with guitar is a project involving a man with a guitar singing for himself in an exhibition setting. The man is making up some rhymes, improvising a song about what’s directly around him in a way that is reminiscent both of a troubadour and/or of a sideshow character from a western film scene.

The project was realised at Transform, an evolutive/ transformative exhibition taking place in Bern (, based around a series of artists’ interventions and punctuated by an “update” vernissage every week. On four of these occasions, a man with a guitar, is perched on a purpose-made platform, and sings about what’s new in the exhibition space.

He is under instructions not to turn the action into a performance, he scribbles and sings quietly to himself if an audience gathers around him, and sings out loud to grab some attention when he is being ignored.
A different man plays at each of the four occasions, each bringing in their own tone and perspective on the exhibition. However, all are tied to the same recurring tune and melody which remains the same at every event.

The men with a guitar were all given the artists’ proposals, press releases and other written material about the exhibition, and are re-framing the art discourse in an “oral” language, impersonating the lone inner voice of the visitor while making sense of what they are experiencing, rather than that of the artists or curators. They are free to let their mind wander, bring their own associations and make ironic comments on what they see.

With thanks to Antonio Albanello, Marco Nicolas Heinzen and Dominique Jann.

Image 6: First sketch with Bastien Rousseau during an residency open day, Brunnen 2012.