At the moment of being heard brings together works and performances by a group of international artists, musicians and composers engaging with sound and modes of listening. Installed throughout the galleries and connecting spaces, the exhibition is presented in parallel with a series of live performances and special events, both at the SLG and at nearby off-site venues as part of SLG Local.
Works by artists crys cole, Rolf Julius, Eli Keszler and Reiner Ruthenbeck occupy the main gallery space, each piece placing an emphasis on the act and intimacy of listening, whilst encouraging a heightened awareness of our relationship to their architectural settings. Singing,2000, by the late sound art pioneer Rolf Julius, incorporates seven suspended speakers which appear to hover in the room, their upward-pointing diaphragms emanating a low, resonant hum. The resulting vibrations in the cones cause sieved black pigment on the membranes to gently shift in sync with the quiet, fragile composition. This use of processed natural and instrumental sounds to draw attention to materials and their intrinsic properties, and an interaction between aural and visual components, characterised Julius’s work throughout his career, from the 1970s until his death in 2011. Shown alongside Singing are black and white works from Julius’s Ecken(Corners) series, photographic studies of corners of rooms, and Five Red, a large painted ‘dot’ score from 2007.
Also in the main gallery, Canadian artist crys cole presents two unique sound compositions that are both created and located in the heating vents beneath the floorboards, amplified through a mono speaker at a low, discreet volume. Guided by a fascination with microsonics, cole’s approach to sound emphasises subtlety and discretion, focusing on the texture and delicacy of minimal sonic environments. New York-based artist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Eli Keszler’s work has a more impactful visual presence, his newly commissioned piece criss-crossing the gallery walls in a twisting geometric shape. Its stretched and tuned piano wires are periodically struck and scraped by mechanical beaters to deliver deep and resonating sounds cutting across the other works in the room and momentarily lingering as our ears gradually reacclimatise to the environment. Acting as a metronomic accent in a room of otherwise subtle sounds, the context of Keszler’s installation brings to mind a quote from an interview with Rolf Julius in 1994:
N: 'Emptiness’ is one of your key words, isn’t it?
J: Japanese gardens, for example, have a unique use of space. When I went to a garden in Okayama, a crane landed and suddenly cried very loud. Then I understood the beauty of Japanese gardens. I was surprised that a sound like that could exist. And then the silence afterwards: in complete harmony with the space.*
Reiner Ruthenbeck’s Geräuscharbeiten (Noise Works) series captured the moment noise arises in daily life, without actually making a sound. The photograph displayed in the main gallery, Geräuschstück Nr.3 / Rolladen, 1978, shows an Italian gallerist closing the shutters outside her gallery and conjures the distinct metal-on-metal reverberation.
Located within the connecting spaces of the SLG’s building, as well as off-site, are multiple iterations of Swedish composer, writer, performer and conceptual artist Leif Elggren’s ongoing project, an annexation of the colours yellow and black. For this work, initiated in 1977, Elggren finds counterparts in municipal signage by reappropriating a colour combination which is traditionally used to express danger or to demarcate a border. These works are accompanied by a vitrine in the entrance corridor, containing a publication and ephemera relating to the project.
In the first floor galleries, works by Baudouin Oosterlynck, an avant-garde figure in the field of sound art and modes of listening since the 1970s, are presented in the UK for the first time.Variations of Silence, 1990-1991, are a series of score-drawings which were the result of ten journeys made by the artist, by train, on foot and by bicycle through five countries in Europe, in search of sites and places where moments of silence can be experienced. Interested in the relations between the body, space, sound and silence, Oosterlynck’s practice has, since the early 1990s, largely focused on works that take the form of acoustic prostheses, drawn scores and "listening aids" that emphasize the relationship between silence and sound.
Also in the first floor galleries is a three-screen video work, entitled Volcanoes II, 2010, by Rolf Julius. Each screen plays looped films of upturned speaker cones partially submerged in ash, whilst a low-volume, high-pitched whirring sound resonates from the three built-in speakers, but the sound is not synchronized with the image. The ash moves abruptly on the cones with pauses in between, mimicking their geological namesake.
The installation works by Julius are complemented by a performance, entitled Blue Yellow Red,with artist and dancer Junko Wada with artists and composers Miki Yui and Rie Nakajima, that has its origins in earlier, individual collaborations and dialogues between the artists and Julius, taking place on Sunday 28 July in the gardens of the gallery.
To accompany the exhibited works is a parallel programme of performances, special events and installations, presented both at the gallery and off-site as part of SLG Local featuring: Tom White, Tetsuya Umeda, Baudouin Oosterlynck, La Cellule d'Intervention Metamkine, Junko Wada with Miki Yui and Rie Nakajima, Henning Christiansen, Barby Asante, Marina Rosenfeldand Marginal Consort. More details about these events are outlined below.
This exhibition is part of SLG Local which is sponsored by Bloomberg and also funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.
Related Talks, Screenings & Events
Every Sat, 3pm, & Last Fridays, 7pm, Free
Gallery assistants lead informal drop-in tours of the exhibition.
Sat 29 Jun, 6 Jul, 13 Jul & 20 Jul, 11am-6pm, Free
Clore Studio & Southampton Way Estate SE5
Following a series of workshops in February exploring sound and space with children from Southampton Way Estate, artist Tom White produced a documentation film, to be shown in the Clore Studio. Further exploration has resulted in a site-specific sound installation on the estate, allowing facets of the architecture and surroundings to broadcast the children's recordings in a multi-speaker presentation.
Mon 1 Jul, 8pm, £5/£3 conc, Caroline Gardens Chapel, SE15 2SQ
Presented in collaboration with Café OTO, Umeda performs in the atmospheric setting of a former chapel, making connections between sound, kinetics and sculpture whilst exploring the idiosyncrasies of the building. Book tickets
Baudouin Oosterlynck in conversation with Mark Harwood
Wed 3 Jul, 7pm, £5/£3 conc, Clore Studio
Belgian artist Oosterlynck, an avant-garde figure in the field of sound art and modes of listening, discusses his practice with Mark Harwood of Penultimate Press. Book tickets
La Cellule d'Intervention Metamkine
Sat 6 Jul, 8pm, £7/£5 conc, Wilson Road Lecture Hall, SE5 8LU
An immersive live audio-visual performance, using mirrors, multiple projectors, live editing, tape loops and analogue synthesizers, by French filmmakers Christophe Auger and Xavier Quérel and musique concrète from electroacoustic composer Jérôme Noetinger. Book tickets
Junko Wada, Miki Yui and Rie Nakajima
Sun 28 Jul, 3pm, Free, Gardens of the South London Gallery
A performance by Japanese artist and dancer Junko Wada with artists and composers Miki Yui and Rie Nakajima, entitled Blue Yellow Red, that has its origins in earlier, individual collaborations and dialogues between the artists and the late German sound art pioneer, Rolf Julius.
Installation: Tue 30 Jul-Sun 4 Aug, 11am-6pm, Free, Clore Studio
Talk: Sat 3 Aug, 7pm, £5/£3 conc, Clore Studio
An 8-channel sound installation, Symphony Natura op.170, 1985, by the late Danish composer and Fluxus member. This collage of electronic drones and animal sounds recorded at a zoo in Rome is presented alongside the original hand-painted scores and accompanied by a discussion of his oeuvre between Henning's son Thorbjørn Reuter Christiansen and Mark Harwood.
Wed 7 Aug, 7pm, £5/£3 conc, Clore Studio
A screening of primarily silent film and video works which use rhythm, shape, colour, pattern, and movement to create visual compositions that resonate as sound in our eyes and minds.
Off-site Performance: 3 Sep
Installation: 4-8 Sep; Talk: 4 Sep, 7pm
roygbiv&b, a performance and installation work originally conceived for the atrium space at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, is here created in collaboration with youth choirs from south London.
Noise Summit: Young People and Sound
Sun 8 Sep, 1.30-5.30pm, £5/£3 conc, Clore Studio
A live performance created by artist Barby Asante and a presentation by artist Tom White mark the culmination of their work with young people and musicians on local housing estates. This symposium considers the role of sound in differentiating between social and anti-social behaviour, and noise-making in the urban environment. Mark Peter Wright, editor of Ear Room develops a critical discourse and debate.
Sun 8 Sep, 7pm, £12/£10 conc, Main Gallery
A rare three-hour concert by this legendary Japanese collective, made up of Kazuo Imai, Kei Shii, Masami Tada and Tomonao Koshikawa – improvisers and artists who studied together under Takehisa Kosugi at the Bigakko art school in Tokyo in the mid-1970s. Their extended sets “explore forms of sound and ways of playing that never coalesce into music, but create a group dynamic of ebb and flow, of exploration and fluidity.” Organised in collaboration with PAN and Café OTO. This also marks the launch of Marginal Consort Glasgow 17th Feb 2008 (PAN 25) 4xLP.
Supported by The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.
Barby Asante is an artist, curator, educator and facilitator based in south London who uses engagement and participatory strategies to explore her interest in performativity, particularly in relation to her cultural identity. She studied Fine Art at the University of East London, followed by MA in Visual Culture at Middlesex University. Asante’s work has been exhibited worldwide and abroad, and she has been involved in projects with the Live Art Development Agency, Home Live Art, Hewitt and Jordan, the Serpentine Gallery and 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning.
Established in 1987, La Cellule d’Intervention Metamkine is an open-ended group of musicians and filmmakers who explore the relationship between image and sound. Comprising of three core collaborators (Christophe Auger, Jérôme Noetinger and Xavier Quérel), Metamkine uses mirrors, multiple projectors, live editing, tape loops and analogue synthesizers to produce and direct a new film for each of their performances. http://metamkine.free.fr
Henning Christiansen (1932-2008, Denmark) was a composer, artist and one of the central figures of the Danish branch of the Fluxus movement. Having studied composition at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Copenhagen, in the early 1950s, he attended the Darmstadt Summer School in 1962, where he became involved with the Fluxus movement and was aligned with the radical Danish art movement Ex School. Christiansen was prolific in producing music for film and television and highly regarded for his collaborative work with Joseph Beuys between 1964 and 1985.
crys cole is a Canadian sound artist working in improvised performance and sound installation. Active listening is at the fundamental core of her practice. By drawing out subtle and imperfect sounds through simple purposeful gestures she aims to concentrate the listeners’ focus and, in turn, reveal the broader sound environment that exists around and within us. She has exhibited work and performed extensively in live improvisation settings across Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan and in the USA, collaborating with an array of artists including Tetuzi Akiyama, Tim Olive, Christof Kurzmann, echo ho, Jamie Drouin & Lance Austin Olsen, Oren Ambarchi and Keith Rowe, amongst others. www.cryscole.com
Leif Elggren, born 1950 in Sweden, is an artist who lives and works in Stockholm. A writer, visual artist, stage performer and composer, he has many albums to his credit, solo and with the Sons of God, on labels such as Ash International, Touch, Radium and his own Firework Edition. Together with Hausswolff, Elggren represented Sweden in the Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2001 and his work has been shown at Fargfabriken, Stockholm; Podevil, Berlin; 2nd Biennial, Johannesburg; and Palazzo delle Papesse, Sienna. During his career, he has collaborated with artists such as Thomas Liljenberg (Firework), Kent Tankred (Guds Söner), and Erik Pauser. www.leifelggren.org
Rolf Julius (1939-2011, Germany) was an artist who explored the grey area between music and art, and between sound and silence. Having studied Fine Art in Bremen, Julius began using sound alongside his visual art practice in the mid-1970s and moved to Berlin where he became a significant figure in the city’s sound art scene. He participated in one of Europe’s first major sound art exhibitions, Für Augen Und Ohren (For eyes and ears), in Berlin in 1980. Known for his low-volume, minimal sonic sculptures and installations, Julius is widely acknowledged as a highly influential sound artist.
Eli Keszler is a New York-based composer and multi-instrumentalist. Keszler’s installations employ piano wires of varying lengths; these are struck, scraped, and vibrated by microprocessor-controlled motorized arms, giving rise to harmonically complex tones that are percussive yet resonant. These installations are heard on their own and with accompanying ensemble scores. His installations have appeared at Eyebeam (New York), Boston Center for the Arts, Nuit Blanche New York, and the Shreveport MSPC New Music Festival with upcoming projects at the Tektonic festival in Reykjavik, Iceland, an installation for the Gaudeamus Festival at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, and a performance at the Barbican Centre in London.www.elikeszler.com
Founded in 1997, Marginal Consort is a Japanese collective and free improvisation group made of sound and visual artists, who play one concert annually. The current members of the group are four sound and visual artists: Kazuo Imai, Kei Shii, Masami Tada and Tomonao Koshikawa. Marginal Consort was formed by members of the disbanded East Bionic Symphonia, a group of improvisers and artists who studied together under Takehisa Kosugi at the Bigakko art school in Tokyo in the mid 1970s. Their extended sets “explore forms of sound and ways of playing that never coalesce into music, but create a group dynamic of ebb and flow, of exploration and fluidity.”
Rie Nakajima was born in Japan in 1976, and lives and works in London. Nakajima works with installations and performances that produce sound. Her works are most often composed in direct response to unique architectural spaces using a combination of audio materials and found objects. She is the current associate artist at Café OTO, London. Having studied art in her native Japan, he completed a BA in Sculpture at the Chelsea College of Art and Design and an MA in Sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. Nakajima has exhibited and performed widely, both in the UK and overseas. www.rienakajima.com
Baudouin Oosterlynck, born 1946 in Belgium, is an autodidact who started working on musical improvisations and compositions in 1970. Interested in the relationship between the eye and the ear, and the “air near silence”, Oosterlynck has worked on sound performances since 1975, on music installations since 1978, and with listening instruments since 1990. He has made more than 200 presentations in galleries, museums and contemporary music festivals worldwide, including Museo Reina Sofia, Spain; Ludwig Museum Koblenz, Germany; Saline Royale de Arc-et-Senan, France; Archipel Genève, Switzerland; and Ars Musica, Belgium. www.baudouinoosterlynck.be
Marina Rosenfeld is an American composer, sound artist and visual artist based in New York. Known equally as a composer of large-scale performances and an experimental turntablist, working with hand-crafted dub plates, Rosenfeld has been a leading voice in the increasing hybridization between the domains of visual art and music. She has created chamber and choral works, often mounted in monumental spaces, such as the Park Avenue Armory in New York and Western Australia's Midland Railway Workshops. Recent solo projects include those for the Museum of Modern Art in New York, SPOR, Ultima, Wien Modern and Holland Festivals, Liverpool and PERFORMA Biennials. Having studied Music at Harvard and the California Institute of the Arts, she joined the faculty of Bard College’s MFA programme in 2003 and has co-chaired its department of Music/Sound since 2007. www.marinarosenfeld.com
Reiner Ruthenbeck is a sculptor and conceptual artist, born in 1937 in Germany. Having initially studied photography, he later studied sculpture under Joseph Beuys in Dusseldorf. Regarded as one of the most important German sculptors of his generation, his style is difficult to categorise but is inspired by surrealism, minimal and concept art. He has had solo exhibitions at, amongst others, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1972; Städtische Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf, 1974; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 1986; and National Galerie / Altes Museum, Berlin, 1990.www.reiner-ruthenbeck.de
Japanese sound artist Tetsuya Umeda, born in 1980, lives and works in Osaka. Umeda often works in spaces that not are ordinarily used for exhibition and makes use of found everyday objects in his performances and installations, which focus on sound and space. He has participated in music festivals and in a variety of exhibitions and events, including Sound Art Lab, Osaka, 2005; The Listening Project, London, 2006; Waitool Sounds, San Francisco, 2007; Sound Effects Seoul, Seoul, 2007; and Blurrr, Tel Aviv, 2007; CRITERIUM, Art Tower, MITO Ibaraki, Japan, 2008; and Science of Superstition, Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo, 2009. www.siranami.com
Junko Wada was born in 1955 in Tokyo, and has lived and worked in Berlin since 1999. Wada is a performance artist, dancer, and action painter. Having initially studied painting at Musashino University of Art, she became interested in performance art and started to develop a personal style of dance, replacing screen and brush with body and stage. She has since collaborated with some of the world’s leading composers, including Rolf Julius and Hans Peter Kuhn.www.junkowada.de
Born in 1986, Tom White is an artist currently based in London. His work traverses multi-media platforms including sound, experimental film and video, installation and live performance. His recent projects include commissions from LUX Moving image, My Dance The Skull, MK Gallery & Spill Festival of Performance. www.tomwhitesound.com
Miki Yui was born in 1971 in Tokyo, and has lived and worked in Düsseldorf, Germany since 1994. Yiu is an artist and composer who presented her work in galleries and as soundtracks to theatre/dance performance and film/video productions across Europe and Japan. She has also previously collaborated with both Rolf Julius and Rie Nakajima. www.mikiyui.com