Archive for November, 2010

Polish Exploratory Music

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Polish Exploratory Music in London

November 2010, two-day festival of exploratory music and trans-idiomatic improvisation with some of the most interesting and vibrant musical agitator’s from the Polish underground at Cafe Oto in London.
‘The strangeness of existence: Polish Visions in sound from Witkacy to Scianka’ is a heightened audio reverberation of Biba Kopf’s journey from Warsaw to Krakow tracing roots back to the Solidarity movement of the 1980s, via indigenous variations of post-punk, No Wave, and avant garde sounds’.

ROBERT PIOTROWICZ (analogue synthesizer, electronics)
ZENIAL (electronics)
EMITER

and more…

 

 

 

 

 

Félix González-Torres

Monday, November 15th, 2010

 

Gonzalez-Torres grew up in Puerto Rico before moving to New York City.
He had his first one-man exhibition of his early text pieces in 1988 at the Rastovsky Gallery (560 Broadway) in Soho.

His work was the focus of several major museum solo exhibitions in his lifetime and after his death.
Gonzalez-Torres was known for his quiet, minimal installations and sculptures. Using materials such as strings of lightbulbs, clocks, stacks of paper, or packaged hard candies, Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s work is sometimes considered a reflection of his experience with AIDS.

He was also considered within his time to be a process artist due to the nature of his ‘removable’ installations by which the process is a key feature to the installation. Many of Gonzalez-Torres’s installations invite the viewer to take a piece of the work with them: a series of works allow viewers to take packaged candies from a pile in the corner of an exhibition space, while another series consists of stacks of ultrathin sheets of clear plastic or unlimited edition prints, also free for the viewer to take.

VeniceUS.jpg

Some of these installations are replenished by the exhibitor as they diminish.
The most pervasive reading of Gonzalez-Torres’s work takes the processes his works undergo (lightbulbs expiring, piles of candies dispersing, etc.) as metaphor for the process of dying. Other readings include the issue of Public versus Private, Identity, and participation in contemporary art. One of his most recognizable works, Untitled (1991) was a billboard installed in twenty-four locations throughout New York City of a monochrome photograph of an unoccupied bed, made after the death of his lover, Ross, to AIDS.

In one interview, he said “When people ask me, ‘Who is your public?’ I say honestly, without skipping a beat, ‘Ross.’ The public was Ross. The rest of the people just come to the work.”

Gonzalez-Torres died in 1996 due to AIDS related complications. In May 2002, the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation was created.

In 2007, he was selected as the United States’ official representative at the Venice Biennale.

 

 

 

 

candyart Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Arvo Pärt

Monday, November 8th, 2010

 

 

Arvo Pärt is often identified with the school of minimalism and, more specifically, that of mystic minimalism or holy minimalism.[4] He is considered a pioneer of this style, along with contemporaries Henryk Górecki and John Tavener.[5] Although his fame initially rested on instrumental works such as Tabula Rasa and Spiegel im Spiegel, his choral works have also come to be widely appreciated.

Pärt’s oeuvre is generally divided into two periods. His early works ranged from rather neo-classical styles influenced by Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Bartók. He then began to compose using Schoenberg’s twelve-tone technique and serialism. This, however, not only earned the ire of the Soviet establishment, but also proved to be a creative dead-end. When early works were banned by Soviet censors, Pärt entered the first of several periods of contemplative silence, during which he studied choral music from the 14th to 16th centuries.[3] In this context, Pärt’s biographer, Paul Hillier, observed that “He had reached a position of complete despair in which the composition of music appeared to be the most futile of gestures, and he lacked the musical faith and will-power to write even a single note.”

The spirit of early European polyphony informed the composition of Pärt’s transitional Third Symphony (1971); and thereafter, he immersed himself in early music, re-investigating the roots of Western music. He studied plainsong, Gregorian chant, and the emergence of polyphony in the European Renaissance.

The music that began to emerge after this period was radically different. This period of new compositions included Fratres, Cantus In Memoriam Benjamin Britten, and Tabula Rasa.[3] Pärt describes the music of this period as tintinnabuli — like the ringing of bells. Spiegel im Spiegel (1978) is a well-known example which has been used in many films. The music is characterised by simple harmonies, often single unadorned notes, or triads, which form the basis of Western harmony. These are reminiscent of ringing bells. Tintinnabuli works are rhythmically simple and do not change tempo. Another characteristic of Pärt’s later works is that they are frequently settings for sacred texts, although he mostly chooses Latin or the Church Slavonic language used in Orthodox liturgy instead of his native Estonian language. Large-scale works inspired by religious texts include St. John Passion, Te Deum, and Litany. Choral works from this period include Magnificat and The Beatitudes.[3]

Of his popularity, Steve Reich has written:”Even in Estonia, Arvo was getting the same feeling that we were all getting. [...] I love his music, and I love the fact that he is such a brave, talented man. [...] He’s completely out of step with the zeitgeist and yet he’s enormously popular, which is so inspiring. His music fulfills a deep human need that has nothing to do with fashion.” Pärt’s music came to public attention in the West, largely thanks to Manfred Eicher who recorded several of Pärt’s compositions for ECM Records starting in 1984.

In response to the murder of the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya in Moscow on 7 October 2006, Pärt declared that all his works performed in 2006–2007 would be in honour of her death:
“Anna Politkovskaya staked her entire talent, energy and—in the end—even her life on saving people who had become victims of the abuses prevailing in Russia.”
— Arvo Pärt