Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson / Rotterdam, Netherland
Kunsthalle for Music
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Jonathan Bepler, Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson, and The Residents.
Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Witte de Withstraat 50 – 3012 BR Rotterdam
25 January – 3 March, 2018
Opening on January the 25th at 17:00
From 25 January 2018 till 3 March 2018, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam will turn into the Kunsthalle for Music, a contemporary space for the live exhibition of musical works.
“Music is not necessarily what you think it is. Can we imagine a space for music that exists outside of any media and beyond the stage? A space for un-recordable music, music of undefined duration, existing even when no audience is present? A dissolution of performer and audience, of rehearsal and performance? How can we imagine contemporary music, composition, and music performance as contemporary art today?” — from Ari Benjamin Meyers’ manifesto for the Kunsthalle for Music.
Invited by Defne Ayas, Director of Witte de With, in 2016, Kunsthalle for Music is the large-scale institutional project of Ari Benjamin Meyers investigating and researching what it means to create a new institution for music in an art context today. Departing from historical precedents situated at the cross-section of music and visual art, Kunsthalle for Music instantiates – for the first time – a ‘total musical situation’ in which the ensemble itself, and their enacting of a music-based repertory, wholly constitutes the exhibition, forming the material with which all commissioned artists are invited to work, against the backdrop of the stripped-down gallery spaces.
The Kunsthalle for Music ensemble forms the heart of the Kunsthalle for Music, consisting of eight musician-performers. An open-call for musicians of all types, backgrounds and skill-levels resulted in the following ensemble: Bergur Thomas Anderson (guitar), Billy Bultheel (piano), Sandhya Daemgen (violin and voice), Sara Hamadeh (violin), Alexander Iezzi (drums and percussion), Nanna Ikonen (saxophone and electronics), Jackson Moore (saxophone), and Pau Marquès i Oleo (cello).
New Commissions & Repertoire
The Ensemble will perform newly commissioned works by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Jonathan Bepler, Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson, and The Residents, as well as a repertoire of existing pieces collected from artists and composers. The exhibition also includes three of Meyers’ performance-based music works: Serious Immobilities, Duet, and Anthem.
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (1965, FR) practice is restlessly cross-disciplinary, taking cues from film, literature, architecture, philosophy and critical theory. Through immersive installations that include film or are suggestive of filmic tropes, Gonzalez-Foerster uses the medium of experience as a way to question the essences of objects and the meaning of context. Often relying on elliptical texts that place equal weight on fiction, fact, and the pluralism of memory, Gonzalez-Foerster creates heterogeneous worlds that thrive on the tension between finite and infinite, the empirical and the dramaturgical.
Jonathan Bepler (1959, US) is a composer who has worked extensively in collaborative and site-specific contexts. His wide-ranging techniques include improvisation, conduction, and alternative notations, and he often engages unexpected performers. Frequent collaborators include choreographers Sasha Waltz and John Jasperse, and artist Matthew Barney. He has been guest professor at Karlsruhe University of Art and Design since 2015.
Libia Castro (1970, ES) and Ólafur Ólafsson (1973, ISL) are collaborative artists based in Rotterdam and Berlin. Formed in 1997, their artistic practice – executed across media and a variety of genres and disciplines, from political history, through gender studies and sociology – concentrates on the phenomena of exclusion and exploitation within an injured world of non-belonging and denied participation.
The Residents are an American art collective and rock band best known for avant-garde music and multimedia works. Their musical output usually falls within two categories: deconstructions of Western popular music, and complex conceptual pieces composed around a theme, theory, or plot. The Residents have been regarded as icons in the world of experimental music for over forty years and to this day their members remain anonymous.