In this exhibition, a selection of contemporary work examines the relationship between music and cultures through artistic creation. With boldness, humor and enthusiasm, these works will rock the Villa Empain becoming a Music Palace for the occasion.

Music has this power to transport us, to have a complete hold over us, to rid us of our inhibitions, and play with our bodies, our minds, and their rhythms.

Music also has this strange ability to galvanize crowds, and bring people together in an odd communion, something which has not escaped the notice of the political world of different cultures and periods.

The history, phenomenology and sociology of modern and contemporary music run parallel with the development of technologies and their distribution. Radio and television, with their music stations and channels, have undoubtedly contributed to the commercialization of music and its standards. But the growth of its diffusion, production and consumption, greatly helped nowadays by digitization, permits the discovery of artists, singers and musicians who elude the usual distribution channels.

Like a shock wave, music can thus be imposed on the collective imagination in unexpected ways. The Mahraganat phenomenon, also called Electro Chaâbi, offers recent proof of this. Starting from the working-class suburbs of Cairo, transmitted by cell phone, Mahraganat concerts have electrified a whole generation of young people who identify with them, re-invent themselves in them, and find in them an energy which transgresses prohibitions.

Music is the supreme mystery of the human sciences, the one against which they stumble, and which holds the key to their progress, said Claude Lévi-Strauss in The Raw and the Cooked in 1964. We might extend this observation to artistic creation as a whole, and note the links and cross-links constructed between these different manners of creation and expression.

In this show, a selection of visual works questions the relations between music and the culture which convey it, as well as between music and the social phenomena which it introduces and incarnates. With daring, wit, and keen verve, these works will make the Villa Empain throb !

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