Discovering Painting through Listening


You want to gain access to a painting without looking at it?  Isn’t that a bit of a paradox?

Perhaps. But it is what blind people do when they take part in guided tours of the museum and listen to descriptions of paintings. What if these descriptions gave a real aesthetic experience to both blind and sighted people?


As part of the exhibition "Gularri, waterscapes from Northern Australia", you too can discover one of these paintings - by listening to it!
We are pleased to offer you a unique aesthetic experience: two sets of short audio recordings - of between around 1 and 5 minutes - created by a group of blind, partially blind and sighted people. Get comfortable, close your eyes, and take the time to listen to them all!

This exploration is brought to you in partnership with the CNRS and PERCEVOIR.

First set of audios:

Second set of audios:


In partnership with the musée du quai Branly, the CNRS and PERCEVOIR, "Discovering Painting through Listening" is the Audiodescription axis of the French National Research Agency (ANR) project ‘Inclusive Museum Guide’. This project explores the aesthetic possibilities of blindness.
Disability Studies scholars have suggested that blindness is not necessarily a bad thing. This is the concept of ‘blindness gain’ developed by Prof Hannah Thompson and tested by PERCEVOIR, notably in its activities with the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac.

Discovering Painting through Looking is

  • Learning to see the essential: key features; contrasts; details
  • Discovering that low or no vision gives you a different way of engaging with a painting and that this experience is full of richness
  • Undergoing a different kind of aesthetic immersion; the pleasure of seeing a mental image materialise
  • Imagining textures and movements
  • Feeling the artist’s gestures in your own body

Listen with your eyes closed. Is a representation starting to form? Does it get more precise as you listen?

Our audios were co-written by blind, partially blind and sighted people, in conjunction with the museum curators and researcher Jessica de Largy Healy.