Live Stage: Voice & Void [at Innsbruck]

voicevoid.jpgVoice & Void -Rachel Berwick, Joseph Beuys / Ute Klophaus, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, John Cage, VALIE EXPORT, Anna Gaskell, Asta Grőting, Christian Marclay, Melik Ohanian, Hans Schabus, Nedko Solakov, Julianne Swartz, Cerith Wyn Evans :: April 19 – June 8, 2008 :: Opening: April 18, 2008; 7:00 pm :: Galerie im Taxispalais, Maria-Theresien-Str. 45, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria.

The group show Voice & Void is dedicated to the representation of the human voice – and its absence – in the visual arts. The voice and its fading away, speech and the loss of speech, both the presence and the immateriality of the voice, the relation between the voice and corporeality as well as sound and image are only a few of the many aspects addressed in this exhibition.

The exhibition studies the effects of a sensual perception being replaced by another one and the conditions under which the voice allows itself to be imparted by other means – be it written notation, technical recordings or visual representation. While the voice has very specific qualities in its immediate expression, “translated into another medium, the voice becomes apparent as a medium.” (Thomas Trummer) The works allude to the relation of image and sound so that they reciprocally define the specific characteristics of imagery and sound, either underscoring or even subverting each other.

The exhibition comprises thirteen very different approaches to “voice and void”. Historical points of reference include Joseph Beuys” legendary performance “How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare”(1965) which is featured in Ute Klophaus” photographs; John Cage”s text sheets titled “Lecture on Nothing (Silence)” (1959) where acoustics of a silence imbued with “presence” is implemented both verbally and visually by means of text notations; and VALIE EXPORT”s “Tonfilm” (Sound film) from 1969, showing the draft for a performance in which the voice is manipulated by means of technological interventions in the glottis and the ear.

These early works are followed by a row of contemporary studies on the phenomenon of the voice – also touching upon its absence. One work, by American artist Rachel Berwick, is an installation with two live parrots. In his journey through South America in 1799 explorer Alexander von Humboldt discovered a parrot that was the only surviving living creature which could speak the language of the indigenous tribe of the Mayporé. Humboldt documented 40 words of this lost language that is now being reanimated in Berwick’s work.

In his site-specific installation Hans Schabus refers to the particular acoustic and visual situation of hidden spaces. He makes these spaces accessible to the visitor by transferring them into the exhibition space.

Asta Grőting”s work revolves around the process of ventroloquism where the performer is no longer just the speaker but also the recipient and interlocutor of his own “second voice”.

The exhibition is rounded off by a number of other works by artists such as Janet Cardiff/ Georges Bures Miller, Anna Gaskell, Christian Marclay, Melik Ohanian, Nedko Solakov and Julianne Swartz. They all approach the voice as the vehicle of language, communication and bodily expression.

The curator of the exhibition is Thomas Trummer who developed the project as part of an international fellowship awarded by The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT (USA) where the exhibition was shown first.

Apr 16, 2008
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