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Entries in sculpture (13)


Pietre Sonore


I’ve often wondered why there aren’t more sculptors making use of sound in their work. Even though Wikipedia has quite a list, it’s not something you run into very often. Also, most of the artists on the list have only made use of sound one, or only quite a few times in their career.

Pinuccio Sciola, a quite renowned Italian sculptor who sadly passed away two months ago, was one of those artists who used sound in his sculptures, and even performed them. Often called “the man who makes the rocks sing”, his most famous works are the Pietre Sonore, or the Sounding Stones: sculptures, often made of limestone, that he used to play with his hands or with small rocks.

His ideas on these sounding stones were quite spiritual: he believed that stones have a voice that has always been there, but he only helps to release it. His limestone sculptures for example make a sound of a “liquid quality” when played, because geologically seen limestone is just fossillized water. As if the memory of water was imprisoned inside the stone during glaciation. An interesting way of looking at the world which might be very abstract, but helps one to think about long timespans.

To the rational minds that are sceptical of his ideas, Sciola only had only one thing to say: “I want to remind those who are sceptical that all the information circulated today by computers and digital networks in the end is stored and elaborated using infinitesimal silicon crystals.”


Sonambient Sculptures

I’ve wanted to write about Harry Bertoia’s sound sculpture work for quite some time now, but never got around to it. As New York’s Museum of Arts and Design is currently showcasing a retrospective on his work, it seems like fitting time.
Bertoia (1915-1978), originally from Italy, chose to move to America in the 1930’s. First starting his career as a painting student, he soon got to work with metal as he was asked to take over a metal workshop. After the war, he was quickly able to devote himself to sculptural work as he had made a wire-chair for Knoll, a furniture company, which was selling quite well.
Bertoia got interested in sound while bending wire. The thin strand of metal, when it snapped and struck another wire, vibrated and made sound. What would happen if he bundled these wires together, and turned this hitting of one wire to another into a symphony?
This led to several Sonambient sculptures, art pieces which resonate when touched and put into motion. Betroia believed and loved that these sculptures did not need any musical training or understanding. Bertoia didn’t see himself as a musician or a sculptor, but somewhere in between. The sound of these sculptures was released on several albums. These have been grouped in the amazing release Complete Sonambient Collection:
The exhibition Atmosphere for Enjoyment is on until the end of September at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.

Breathing Volume

We’ve featured some works of Marco Canevacci and Marco Barotti last January: Sound of Light. With Breathing Volume, they continue making immersive environments. Where Sound of Light sonified the weather by looking at the sky and the sunlight, Breathing Volume plays with the notion of space in an audio-visual context. For five minutes, the public is embraced between breathing walls, constantly changing their physical volume. This creates the perception of being inside a living organism.
Four ventilators make the lungs breathe in the same way humans do, and subwoofers transform the pulsing bass frequencies into the soul of the organism. Breathing Volume unexpectedly steers the focus from what surrounds us, to what is immediate, here and now, offering a distorted reflection on our relationship with space, its distance and extension. Again, as with Sound of Light, it reminds me of Space Odyssey, this time very obviously, als because of the black speaker-monolith at the end of the space.

Listening is Making Sense

Listening is Making Sense lets you listen in on vibrations carried through thick wooden beams. The only way to experience the installation is by getting into physical contact with the resonant matter, by placing your ear directly on the wood.

Michele Spanghero is a sound- and visual artist whose work focuses on the acoustic art and the visual arts, trying to find a natural synthesis between these two forms. In this work that idea is clearly visible and audible, by using the material as a resonator.

In one version the viewer has to bend down to the ground and put his ear on some wooden beams to listen to the sound propagating inside them, while in another the spectator is invited to an upward movement to place his ear directly on the beam supporting the roof of the building to hear a sound that flows into it. The synergy between the physical and audible is something that’s quite unique about Spanghero’s works.


In Between

An exhibition can be quite a different experience than your everyday life, and it can even come as little shock. For the latest exhibition at De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, artist Henk Schut made an installation to bridge the gap between the everyday life and the exhibition.
In Between consists of 40 huge vibrating steel plates. By drowning out the ambience of the church when you walk along the plates, you slow down the transition from the bustling city of Amsterdam to the contemplative atmosphere of the church where the exhibition is held. The metal plates rumble with a low frequency, slowly transforming in sound character, but always continuous. The immaterial impact of the installation works on when you exit the narrow path of metal plates and enter the next space.
Henk Schut (1957) is a multidisciplinary artist from Amsterdam, who has been working with sound quite a lot for the last fifteen years. For sounds and spatialisation, he’s been working with sound designer Robin Koek for his most recent installations.
In Between is on display at De Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam as a part of the “Magisch Afrika” exhibition, which can be seen until the 15th of February 2015.


What sounds do these moving abstract images make? Candas Sisman created this nice example of how motion and sound can come together. The objects twist and turn in a way that would be impossible in the real world, yet the sounds they make seem to fit to them perfectly.

F L U X was inspired by the sculptures of Ilhan Koman, and created for the Ilhan Koman Hulda Festival in Istanbul, 22 September - 31 October.


Rolex Tower Soundwave Sculpture

For the entrance hall of the Rolex Tower in Dubai, James Clar created the Rolex Tower Soundwave: a massive sculpture resembling a sound wave, made of stainless steel.

The sculpture is like an abstract name tag for the building, as the artist recorded his own voice, saying “Rolex Tower”. The waveform of this recording in 3D form was then used as blueprint for the sculpture. The sculpture blends in very well with the architectural design of the building:

Click to read more ...


Sound sculputres and installations by Zimoun

After sharing Woodworms I with you, I have to show you this one too. In Compilation Video 1.0 Swiss artist Zimoun shows us a nice selection of his wonderful, aesthetic sound installations and sculptures.  

I love the way these constantly moving installations seem to come alive, clumsy and mechanical. The sonic result isn't earth shattering, but the noise created by multiplication of one tiny machine is impressive!


Yes/No by Carsten Nicolai

Yes/No visualizes sound waves traveling through air, in a very detailed sculpture made of steel. CarstenNicolai used recordings of Laurie Anderson saying "yes" and "no" as input while creating this sculpture. You can clearly see the difference between vowels and consonants.

I've known Carsten Nicolai quite well for his work as Alva Noto, and his collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto, among others. He often explores the relationships between the visual and the audible in his projects. He also published a book, Grid Index, earlier this year.


Reflection, a data sculpture by Benjamin Maus

Reflection, a data sculpture by Benjamin Maus, was inspired by a musical piece by Frans de Waard. Software was used to analyze the frequencies of the music. Unlike some projects we looked at before (Cylinder and this project), it's not the visualization of one sound, but of a complete piece of music.

Why do we want to see everything? Some things appear to be more real if you can see them, or touch them. We will not be able to tell what the music sounded like by looking at a sculpture like this. It does look quite fascinating though.