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Sound and Silence

The Sound of Silence in Contemporary Art

27.05. - 05.09.2021

The exhibition Sound and Silence focuses on the theme of stillness and silence in the field of contemporary art. The presentation has been realized in view of the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven and is based on the composer’s progressing deafness as a starting point for discussing the question of the relation between sound and silence, the productive and at the same time destructive force of stillness and the impossibility of complete silence. In a broad panorama of media comprising installations, performances, videos, films, photographs and drawings, the exhibition - which is not meant as a contribution about the history of music - makes the sound of silence perceptible in many different ways: as monotony, repetition and repository; as pause or overlapping and cluster, as booming stillness or ruined sound; in the interplay between meditative immersion, compelled silence and quiet resistance; and, not least, as ambivalent expression of meaning and meaninglessness.

List of artists:
Marina Abramović, Absalon, Nevin Aladağ, Arturo Hernández Alcazar, Dave Allen, Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, William Anastasi, Laurie Anderson, John Baldessari, Benjamin Bergmann, Jane Benson, Joseph Beuys, Tatiana Blass, Manon de Boer, Maya Bringolf, Christoph Büchel, Julia Bünnagel, John Cage, Hanne Darboven, Bogomir Ecker, Robert Filliou, Terry Fox, Al Hansen, Sofia Hultén, Pierre Huyghe, Annika Kahrs, Idris Khan, Christina Kubisch, Bernhard Leitner, Alvin Lucier, Christian Marclay, Teresa Margolles, Kris Martin, Jonathan Monk, Peter Moore, Janis Elias Müller, Carsten Nicolai, Yoko Ono, Dennis Oppenheim, Nam June Paik, Susan Philipsz, Ricarda Roggan, Anri Sala, Erwin Schulhoff, Sigrid Sigurdsson/Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson, Juergen Staack, Jens Standke, Timm Ulrichs, Jorinde Voigt, Gillian Wearing, Samson Young, David Zink Yi, Artur Żmijewski

The exhibition architecture was designed by Berlin-based architect Ruth Lorenz. A comprehensive catalog with essays on the exhibition’s subject and texts on the artists accompanies the exhibition.

The exhibition is supported by BTHVN2020 with funds from the Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien, the Land Nordrhein-Westfalen, the City of Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg-Kreis as well as the Pro Helvetia, Schweizer Kulturstiftung.

Note: The performance "Deaf Piano - Half of the Speech on the Ground" by Tatiana Blass took place at the Kunstmuseum as part of the exhibition on 3 June. A professional recording of the performance will be made available soon.

Header: John Baldesari, "Beethoven's Trumpet (with ear) Opus #133" (detail), 2007, Resin, fibreglass, bronze, aluminum, electronics, © Courtesy the Estate of John Baldessari, Sprüth Magers and Marian Goodman Gallery above: Annika Kahrs , "Strings", 2010 (Filmstill), HDV-Film, Colour, Sound, 8.20 min, © The artist and Produzentengalerie Hamburg

Maya Bringolf, "Interferenzen" (detail), 2016, organ pipes, ventilation pipes, wood, steel, electronics, engine, 340 x 280 x 280 cm, © Maya Bringolf

Tatiana Blass, "Half of the Speech on the Ground - Deaf Piano", 2010, Piano, Wax © Tatiana Blass