Gone with the Wind – three pioneers of sound art

Members of the media art community, sound designers, musicians and other art lovers, don’t miss Gone with the Wind, a gem of an exhibition on view till mid-July at Raven Row. The art gallery, located two steps away from Liverpool Street Station in London, hosts the work of three pioneers of sound art: Max Eastley, Takehisa Kosugi and Walter Marchetti.

The 18th century interiors of the art space feature new and historic work as well as live performance, and material from the artists’ archives.

Ple1piano130887.jpgWalter Marchetti, Musica da camera n.182, 1989/2011

Ppianodetail1130889.jpgWalter Marchetti, Musica da camera n.182, 1989/2011 (detail)

I’ll start upstairs with the flamboyant (see photos below) Walter Marchetti. In 1959, the self-taught musician founded ZAJ, an experimental music and performance art group together with Juan Hidalgo with the support of John Cage. In the 1960s, the group produced action-music-performances, anarchic gags, and elegant assaults on the music establishment. Marchetti’s work often focused on the grand piano. He’s showing two piano pieces which the exhibition guide book defines as “not so much visual art, as a production of music without sound’, one is a heap of toilet paper rolls shaped as a piano, the other one is a piano covered with light bulbs that heat up a room that doesn’t really need to be any warmer.

Pdarolls1130890.jpgWalter Marchetti, Musica da camera n.211, 1990/2011

0aabandagesewq.jpgwalter444.jpgWalter Marchetti, J’aimerais jouer avec un piano qui aurait une grosse queue, 1975

If Marchetti is the bad boy of the group, Takehisa Kosugi must be the prodigy, the geek and the spiritual all in one. In the early 1960s Kosugi’s event pieces were realised by Fluxus in Europe and the USA. He pioneered the development of Japanese experimental music with Group ONGAKU and the Taj Mahal Travellers. Since 1977 he has been a composer/performer at Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and became its Music Director in 1995. Kosugi’s career is showcased through videos, archival works, framed sound pieces and a sound installation.

0atakehesshiwio92.jpgPlasallle1130867.jpg0Pventilateurs1130859.jpgTakehisa Kosugi, Mano-Dharma, electronic, 1967/2011

Pradios1130856.jpgPinterspersion1130852.jpgTakehisa Kosugi, Interspersion, 1998

0aapulsesessel83.jpgTakehisa Kosugi, Pulses, 2008

Finally, there’s Max Eastley, the romantic whose sound sculptures play with and inhabit the domestic rooms of the gallery. One of his intervention deploys an Aeolian harp, a device popular in the 18th century interiors that carried the sound of the wind through strings framed in a window casement. Eastley used 21st century technology to give the Aeolian harp (which i read is located on the rooftop) a contemporary twist.

Pdalamp1130873.jpgPmantelepeice1130871.jpgMax Eastley, The Lamp, 2011

mirororP1130877.jpgMax Eastley, The Mirror, 2011

The exhibition is curated by Ed Baxter, director of Resonance104.4fm. The London art radio station took its quarters at Raven Row for the duration of the exhibition, broadcasting, and hosting workshops and live events, as well as presenting an ‘overhung’ sound installation – the ‘Resonance Open’ – with contributions solicited from local and international sound artists.

Gone with the Wind remains open until 17 July 2011 at the Raven Row gallery in London.