Resin, Acrylic Paint - 8 x 9.5 x 9.5" - hand-painted - 2016
Bronze, marble - 18" x 16" x 14" - Edition of 7 - 2016
Sebastien’s work has consistently drawn from astronomy and space exploration, extending his fascination with stars as a gateway to infinity into his cosmic abstraction paintings. Recently, he was particularly struck by the beauty of the photographs taken of comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko by space probe Rosetta, finding them miraculous in their ability to capture the elusive confines of the human reach. The stark desert landscape of the comet contrasts with the advanced technology of the vessel and summarizes in one snapshot the profundity of life; every element in our bodies once comprised a star, and we now strive to return. The photographs show where we are in relation to where we come from, with this distance representing the complexity and marvel of intelligent life and evolution. Sebastien’s most recent sculpture thus marries mathematics with chaos, architecture with mineral formation, and technology with nature.
“Space Rendezvous” mixes elements of space exploration, mineral geometry and architectural construction to form an elevated cluster of four geometric blocks, extending into matrices of bronze. The name “Space Rendezvous” refers to the orbital maneuver during which two spacecrafts, one of which is often a space station, arrive at the same orbit and approach to a very close distance. The same rendezvous technique can be used for spacecraft “landing” on natural objects with a weak gravitational field, e.g. one of the martian Moons.
Commissioned by TBWA
Steel structure, aluminum tubes, resin cylinders, wooden walls, rubber rings - 7'10" long x 8'2" tall x 5'2" wide , Edition of 3 - Plaza Athénée, Paris (France), 2014
The Carileon is an outdoor musical sculpture at the crossroads between church bells and wind-chimes. Its name is derived from the French word "Carillon", a religious musical instrument housed in a belfry and composed of at least twenty-three bells. The bells can be played serially to produce a melody or together to form a chord. The Carileon is composed of a series of aluminum tubes varying in diameters and lengths, each containing a wooden ball connected to a resin cylinder. The sculpture operates musically on two levels; while the wind swings the tubes against the balls and plays clear sounds, the tubes are also meant to be played with felt mallets by a musician, creating soft melodies. These two musical dimensions allow musicians to play a seamless melody together with nature.
Listen to the Carileon as performed by Loup Barrow.
Commissioned by ADM for Krug
3 Brass Sculptures, Electronic Sound System - 10' x 6' x 6' - NEF, Istanbul, 2012
The Golden Horns are a permanent large-scale sound sculpture located in an Istanbul high-rise tower. Composed of intertwined brass pipes inspired by a French Horn, the installation runs vertically through the building, piercing the infra-structure to carry its intrinsic sounds coming from the the ground floor bazaar, the parking garage, the water pipes, the cinema, the lobby etc.
Navigating through the pipes, visitors can either isolate specific sounds or listen to the multi-channel soundscape. Sonic filters and digital harmonizers alter the sound waves in real time, offering a unique experience at every single listen. All the pipes, electronically tuned in the E minor scale, turn random noises into the soundscapes of a continuously improvised symphony.
The Golden Horns culminate with a site-specific installation on the observatory of the building located on its thirty-fifth floor, allowing visitors to listen to the life of the tower while admiring the cityscape of Istanbul in a room composed of windows and a a tessellation of angled mirrors.
Commissioned by NEF
Wood, Reflective Aluminum, Induction Speakers - New York, 2012
Born from the encounter of op art and glam rock, The Leontophone is a 32-foot long musical sculpture composed of 178 mirrored aluminum keys reflecting distorted images of reality, commissioned by Brian Atwood. Named after a Medieval mythological poisonous snake, the Leontophone intends to poetically hypnotize its audience through its three-dimensional geometric tessellation and psychedelic sonic landscape.
One could get lost in the repetition of simple shapes, in the deformed reflections of the angled keys, or in the loops of acoustic music subtly altered by both electronic pedals and digital effects.
Commissioned by Brian Atwood
BETWEEN NOW & THEN
Wood, Aluminum, Sound System - Park Avenue Armory (New York), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Palazzo della Triennale (Milan), UCCA (Beijing) - 2012
The multi-channel sound installation piece “Between Now and Then”, played through nearly one thousand aluminum pipes, proposes a new experience of time by infiltrating the intrinsic sounds of timepieces and by rearranging ambient recordings from the Vallée de Joux, the craddle of fine watchmaking located in Switzerland. Watch ticking becomes beats, cow bells turn into zen gongs, and stretched church organ samples mutate into meditative sound waves, all giving a glimpse into the elastic dimension of time.
Commissioned by MA3 Agency for Audemars Piguet
Corian, Aluminum Pipes, Electronic Sound System - 2014
The Joulétoile (French translation, "playing a star") is an imaginary electronic sound sculpture connected to the movement of the moon, sun and the myriad of constellations around the earth.
By associating specific sounds to over one hundred celestial bodies and then playing each individual soundtrack according to their presence in the sky, the Joulétoile plays a one-year long, multi-channel symphony, repeating with the revolution of the earth around the sun.
Wood Structure, Wood Inlay, Bronze, Metal Strings - 2014
The Mandoleon is a string instrument concept inspired by the Neapolitan mandolin. It is composed of a maple half sphere decorated with traditional wood inlay, and a metallic interior armature forming different angles and serving as a structure for metal strings. Each string segment produces a specific sound frequency, which is then amplified by the spherical shape of the instrument. As most of Sebastien Leon's sculptures, the Mandoleon follows its own scale and musical logic.
Commissioned by Tromantano Arte
MDF, Zebrano Lamination, Heat Branding, Electronic Sound System - New York, 2009
A numerical play on the year in which the project was created, MMIX redeploys the concept of the remix to highlight the value of ethno-diversity in a modern world defined by rapid globalization. Composed of six totemic speakers made of zebrawood adorned with circular brand marks, the multi-channel installation establishes a dialogue between contemporary music and archival field recordings of vanishing cultures from around the globe.
The field recordings used for MMIX are provided by the Association for Cultural Equity (ACE), founded by renowned musicologist Alan Lomax (1915-2002) who traveled the world recording the sounds and songs of indigenous cultures, ranging from descendants of slaves in the Mississippi Delta, to Scottish tweed workers and the residents of Italian fishing villages.
For MMIX, we integrated the ACE samples with newly composed tracks created in collaboration with various artists such as Andrew Vladeck and Caithlin De Marrais, Bob Hoffnar, Konrad Meissner, Kevin Ley and Josh Kaufman. In addition to the installation, we invited choreographers Andrea Miller of Gallim and Jodi Melnick to conceive site-specific performances based on the newly created music and on the layout of the totemic speakers.
Commissioned by Sportmax (Max Mara)