Schall & Rauch
My role: Visual Artist & Curator —
I was resident artist at the newly inaugurated art space Järnhallen in Gothenburg and received grants from the City of Gothenburg and The Swedish Art Grants Committee to realize the site-specific installation project Schall & Rauch.
Schall und Rauch (’sound and smoke’) – ephemeral, evanescent, an illusion. Origin: Goethe, Faust.
I investigated the contrast between concrete solidity and transient spheric impressions, and offered a context where the exhibited objects formed a base for a participatory process and a sonic exploration.
The project and the subsequent exhibition were part of the Gothenburg International Biennial of Contemporary Art.
The story —
The pianos that I used in this installation were once prestigious objects that cost several months’ wages. Families had them in their living-rooms, where the children got piano lessons and everyone gathered on holidays to sing songs together. Schools had them in class rooms, musicians had them in their rehearsal studios and congregations had them in their churches. They were inherited and inherited again, sold and re-sold, tuned and restored until, ultimately, they were decommissioned.
I wanted to exploit and highlight these magnificent instruments. I picked them up from people who gave them away, I took them apart, re-assembled them and installed them as new sculptural incarnation. I encouraged the audience to participate and add their own personal story: to pick the strings and make them sound, or to knock on the wooden frames, or whisper a secret memory into the strings and listen to the soft echo. All frequencies reverberate in the old-fashioned wooden structure of the exhibition building, and my installation enhanced and amplified this effect. And in the end, every uttered word and every personal activity, everyone’s very presence in that space resonated, too.