Across the twentieth century’s different avant-garde movements, and as the processes through which music freed itself from its own norms moved forward, sound burst forth in different directions in the field of visual arts, coming into its own in hitherto unexplored artistic spaces. Audible phenomena and events became plastic materials that could be processed vocally and technically —on one side, sound arts were mixed with visual arts, coinciding with the technological development of new mediums of sound recording and synthesis; and, on the other, the interest in the soundscapes of industrial and urban modernity, and the sounds of the phonatory body (mouth noises, tongue clicking, different ways of drawing breath, and so on).
Therefore, this exhibition displays a selection of forms, genres, approaches and unique examples as it spans different initiatives that moved beyond pre-defined categories in modern and contemporary art until 1980. The show places the accent on different pivotal moments: the Futurist experience of building instruments to modulate noises; visual artists’ fascination with the tape recorder around the midway point of the 20th century; and spatial, musical and multimedia experiments, for instance the Philips Pavilion designed by Le Corbusier and Iannis Xenakis, with music by Edgar Vàrese, for the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958.
The repeated questioning of classical music forms is also the subject of a critical revision in the exhibition: from the Dadaists’ deployment of non-discursive phenomena — such as Ursonate by Kurt Schwitters (1932)— the incursion of the visual into the heart of poetry and musical notation, Man Ray’s unplayable instrument Emak Bakia (1926), and the musique barbare essays of Karel Appel (1963), to the thunderous wail of punk, on the threshold of the 1980s, announcing a “non-future”.
18 December 2019 - 18 May 2020
Ignacio Gómez de Liaño
22 November, 2019 - 23 March, 2020
This Has Happened
6 November, 2019 - 20 April, 2020
Miguel Ángel Campano
30 October, 2019 – 13 April, 2020
The Task of the Painter
18 October, 2019 – 1 March, 2020
The Keys to the Kingdom
11 October, 2019 - 29 March, 2020
Time Is Mute
25 September, 2019 - 23 March, 2020
Delphine Seyrig and the Feminist Video Collectives in France in the 1970s and 1980s
24 July, 2019 - 2 March, 2020
5 December, 2018 - 4 May, 2020
The Poetics of Democracy
Images and Counter-Images from the Spanish Transition
21 February – 5 June, 2020
Kontakt with Guy Schraenen
Artists’ Publications, Sound, Films, and MoreMuestras documentales, Biblioteca y Centro de Documentación