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Nicolai, carsten, 344ms, 2007, perspex tubes, gas, igniting mechanism, large crop 2

ANALOG | GROUP EXHIBITION

30 November 2013 – 1 February 2014

Berlin

Bruce Nauman, Jannis Kounellis, Max Neuhaus, Lawrence Weiner and Gilberto Zorio are among the eight artists featured in Blain|Southern’s next exhibition, ANALOG, a group show which seeks to question our experience of sound through a range of immersive installations and augmented environments.

Examining the relationship between auditory and visual perception, as well as the extent to which sound functions as an affective trigger of personal memory and emotion,ANALOG demonstrates how artists have and continue to use noise as a powerful aesthetic in itself. Some of the works, which range in date from the 1960s to the present day, invite the viewer to actively participate – generating the echo of their own voices through recording equipment, or becoming immersed in a cacophony of fragmented arias.

Among the numerous works on display, Carsten Nicolai’s 334 m/s (2007) is specifically designed to visualise the speed of sound, which is around 334 m/s. To reflect this, propane gas is set alight within two translucent tubes, which produces a sonic boom and in turn issues wild flashes of fluorescent blue light as the flame burns from one side to the other. Minimalist in form, the work consists of cylindrical tubes, gas cylinders and wires, exploring the artistic potential of chemical processes.

Cyril de Commarque will be exhibiting Migrants (2013), a work that consists of bottles containing organ-like apparatuses, attached to a vascular system that resembles the shape of a boat. The piece represents a poetic limbo, being a metaphor for the forced emigration of peoples from their native countries, and the subsequent voyages that were undertaken in a desperate struggle for survival. The work emits the sounds of anonymous overlapping vocal messages, which become obscured by their own multitude, creating a sense of confusion and disorientation. These voices are incongruous to the pulsating organs from which they emanate, depersonalising the piece to the point that it becomes a collective allegory.

In Ignacio Uriarte’sThe Beach (2012), the sound of a typewriter carriage moving from right to left is presented stereophonically. This repetitive, formulaic process of typing acquires a new dimension, as its constant patterns begin to take on the hypnotic lull of a rolling tide. The audience thus becomes focussed on the unique qualities of the sound itself, now isolated from its mode of production.

Music is the primary subject of both Lawrence Weiner’s Deutsche Angst/The Memories of Stu Irwin (1981) and Jannis Kounellis’ Untitled (1971). Weiner’s piece is a musical collaboration with experimental composer Peter Gordon, which fuses the stabs of electronic synthesisers with elements of free jazz, percussive beats and spoken word. The result is a unique avant-garde composition in which disjointed elements compete for the listener’s attention, creating a distinctive soundscape in which the human voice becomes the remote protagonist of an unsettling musical narrative.

Unlike Weiner’s work, Kounellis’ Untitled incorporates physical performance, in the segmentation of a Divertimento by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  Played by students from the Leo Kestenberg Music School and Studio a’415 two days a week, the Divertimento is staged in fragmented form, with students only performing the same five minute section of the piece for a three hour duration. This structural dissolution of the Divertimento denies the listener the enjoyment and progression of the full piece, transforming rich classical melodies into an emotionally distant and unnervingly mechanical rendition. This process ties in with Kounellis’ use of fragmentation to express feelings of alienation in contemporary society.

Bruce Nauman’s Doppelgänger/UFO (1988) is comprised of a rotating steel beam to which two audio cassettes have been attached, exploring the aural phenomenon of the Doppler effect, where sound waves become distorted as the object is put into motion. Nauman urges the viewer to engage directly with dynamic sound, encouraging us to consider the everyday noises that flash past us with greater aesthetic appreciation, such as the rush of moving vehicles, or the fragments of overheard conversations that fill our ears within urban environments.

Exhibited for the first time outside of Turin is Max Neuhaus’ Three ‘Similar’ Rooms (1989), courtesy of Galleria Giorgio Persano. The large-scale installation – staged in the upper level of the gallery – comprises three seemingly identical rooms through which the viewer wanders, though each room actually contains a distinct aural experience as determined by its individual acoustics. The spaces themselves offer no indication of the origin of each sound, causing the viewer to experience these decontextualised noises in a pure, unfiltered manner.

Gilberto Zorio’s Microfoni (1968) presents a number of concrete breeze blocks on bases of ball bearings, above which microphones hang from the ceiling. Viewers are encouraged to stand upon the blocks and speak into a microphone, with their voice then echoing back through speakers in looped, distorted form. Via this abstraction of the human voice, Zorio’s work causes us to scrutinise the sound of our own speech and the ways in which we use verbal communication.

Through the exploration of these artists’ varying engagement with sound, ANALOGchallenges the audience to perceive the noises of our daily life with greater reverence, triggering both a re-assessment of our aural experience of the world and a renewed appreciation and understanding of the nature of sound as an integral aspect of our sensory existence.

http://www.blainsouthern.com/

Image:

Carsten Nicolai
334m/s
2007
Perspex tubes, gas, igniting mechanism
Room installation/dimensions variable
Image Courtesy of Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin and Pace Gallery

The Possibility of an Island

16 MAY – 26 JULY 2013

Import Projects
Keithstrasse 10
10787 Berlin
www.import-projects.org

58_ranville_rabbit_island_quad1

The Possibility of an Island surveys the strange connectivity between islands and mainlands, green-zones and battlefields, tax-havens and street corners, private fantasy and collective unconscious. Since Plato, through Defoe and Swift, via Gauguin, and in the work of numerous contemporary artists the island figure has been employed to negotiate relationships between the real and the imaginary, utopia and dystopia, selfhood and otherness, centre and periphery. The Possibility of an Island charts the topography of this intellectual archipelago – interrogating the possibility of isolation in the 21st Century.

This exhibition is accompanied by a screening program at the 55th Biennale di Venezia. The screening takes place at the Maldives Exodus Caravan Pavilion – hosted by the Museum of Everything, Serra del Giardini – An Official Collateral Project of the Biennale. Contributions by Bik Van der Pol, Klea Charitou, Joe Hamilton, Daniel Keller and Emily Segal, Mariyam Omar, Alexander Ponomarev, Jon Rafman, Hayley Silverman, and SUPERFLEX.

ARTISTS
Julieta Aranda
Mohamed Azzam Axza
Goldin+Senneby
Daniel Keller
Antti Laitinen
Mariyam Omar
Bik Van der Pol
Alexander Ponomarev
Andrew Ranville
Antoine Renard
Nicholas Roberts

CURATORS
Elena Gilbert
Nadim Samman

Alexander-Ponomarev-1 AnttiLaitinen_Growler2-1 ranville_rabbitisland

 

 

 

Press Release:

Opening: 1 PM, Sunday, December 4, 2011
Place: Neue Grünstraßebetween Kommandantenstraße & Seydelstraße
Public transportation: U2 Spittelmarkt
The artist Erik Smith began searching for building foundations to excavate in an overgrown, vacant lot in Berlin. After two days of digging, he unearthed the top of a curved wall, whereupon his shovel struck a hollow sound. Like an archeologist on the precipice of a chance discovery, Smith methodically uncovered a wholly intact, cast-iron, spiral staircase, a nineteenth-century remnant preserved below the “death strip” of the Berlin Wall.

The excavation is located at Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum, on one of the few remaining “green zones” leftover from the Cold War division. The staircase and evidence of its discovery, an impressive pile of dirt and rubble, resonate in stark contrast to the massive construction sites and new buildings that surround it. At the center of this real estate frenzy, Smith produces an architecture, a staircase downward emerging.

Little is yet known about its history. The staircase is a recognizable entity, but like the missing floors above, anonymous and hermetic. As an artwork, Smith’s open-ended exploration calls to mind Nietzsche’s writings on the principle of a limited horizon – a space established in which one is not responsible to answer all questions or consider all perspectives. By holding them at bay, one can learn something else. In this way, it can be understood that the process of a discovery made in situ, with physical persistence, has its own status, and that knowing the “facts” might not help such a discovery, but only interrupt it.

Erik Smith (US) explores in recent works concepts of city, place and cultural memory, digging into and exposing their latent aspects, if necessary with a shovel. Selected exhibitions include The Ghost of James Lee Byars Calling, de Appel Center for Contemporary Art, Amsterdam (NL), Who, Among You, Deserves Eternal Life? – In Practice, Sculpture Center (NY), and Re-distribution of the Sensible, Magnus Müller Galerie Berlin. Smith has lived and worked in Berlin since 2003. (www.eriksmith.de)

Jeremiah Day writes about Erik’s Dig and what he sees he is achieving with this project.  The questioning of his explorations intrigued me, Day went onto ask:

I asked Smith if he would go to an archive and make that kind of research – old maps, old records – and he said he would, at some point – a point that keeps being pushed back into the future. Nietzsche wrote of the principle of a limited horizon – a space established in which one is not responsible to answer all questions, to all perspectives, and by holding some questions away, one can learn something else.  In this way, perhaps we can understand that the process of discovery made in situ, with physical persistence has it’s own status, and that knowing the “facts” might not help such a kind of discovery, but only interrupt it.

I like this thought of not knowing everything and sometimes this can lead to more.  There is no said way to do things we either do them the way they have been done or we try something new.  If we fear or always do things like they have been done in the past then we will never have happy accidents or new discoveries as everything will be to a certain extent predetermined.