Metamorphosis – exhibition and cycle curated by AROTIN & SERGHEI – W&K Palais Vienna 22.2.- 4.5.2018

14.3.2018 – 19h – “NOTATION / SOUND SCULPTURES” 

MICHAEL WENDEBERG plays PIERRE BOULEZ  the entire piano compositions in dialogue with “Mute Space” and “Logical Structure Of Colour” by AROTIN & SERGHEI


The second part of the cycle about the transformation and innovation of sign, sound, content and form in art, that we curated inside our exhibition “Metamorphosis”, presents an extraordinary parcours / concert with the conductor and pianist Michael Wendeberg and the oeuvre for piano by Pierre Boulez.

The expansion of the tonal spectrum and resonance space was a major concern for Pierre Boulez (1925-2016) – as a composer, as a conductor, and as the initiator of major institutions and spaces, like the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Cite de la Musique Paris and the unique IRCAM — Research Institute for Music and Electroacoustics in the Centre Pompidou Paris. The Boulez specialist Michael Wendeberg will set new pianistic standards with his interpretation of the entire piano work of Boulez in one evening, starting with Boulez’ „ Notations“ (1945), an emblematic piece in which Boulez treats melodic rhytmic micro cells, that he shows in constant metamorphosis and transmutation all over his life, until his late orchestration version of the late 90ies. The two first Sonatas treat simultanous polyphon structures, while the third one and the late pieces appear more like sound sculptures with densified sound blocs. In contrast to this, Wendeberg will end with the Sarabande of the Partita 6 by J.S.Bach, as he previously did on the occasion of the celebrations of the 90th birthday of Boulez 2015 in the Berlin State Opera and as it is planned in Wendebergs concert next week in the new “Pierre Boulez Hall” constructed by Frank Gehry in Berlin.

Music has the capacity to show the process of creation, transformation and disappearance in every single tone, in every moment, in every idea, and in the development of every whole piece. That makes possible to show the visible part of existence in a constant relation to an invisible counter-world, a world of “silence”. This central musical principle is in fact a juxtaposition of everything we see, with the Infinity of everything that is imaginable and suggested by the language of signs, or notation. “Everything We See Could Be Also Otherwise“ (Wittgenstein Tractus / Title of a intermedial painting cycle by AROTIN & SERGHEI). The inner images or imaginations are stimulating the writing process. Once wroten, the “real” existing signs are continously transformed by our imagination in a ever subjective way. Schönberg and Webern started to create systems for free floating tone sequences… but the question remains: How far it is possible to invent an exact notation system for an inner image, a sign language, a color?Questioning these phenomenons in music and visual art, we have landed in the observation and re-creation of the basic components of images: Light Cells, that are producing on our devices each individual pixel, and so, all our language and notation. We create cycles of invented, phantastic portraits of these individual Light Cells. Like musical notes, they seem to be all identical. In reality they create infinite gradations and combinations, allowing Infinite Metamorphosis. Each musical note or sign can be more than a precise and determinated instruction for playing: a free symbol of thoughts, a departure point for imagination.

Wendebergs extraordinary art of playing shows us a combination of these aspects. He anticipate an imaginary orchestration and densification process even in each minimalistic particle of a musical cell compound. In our exhibition “Metamorphosis” we expand the systems of signs and create a dialogue with music that seems to continue and transform visual structures, and which, in the context of our pictures receives a new or additional resonance and reflection space.The music by Pierre Boulez refers for us in particular to two of our creations:

– “Mute Space”, (2008/2012/2018, work in progress), with it’s origins in our rehearsals for our project “BING!” at IRCAM – Centre Pompidou in Paris. This creation dissolves words of Samuel Beckett’s “Bing”(1966) into floating traces emerging and growing from Infinite to Infinite, crossing the vibration of two piano strings.

– “Logical Structure Of Color – Homage to Ludwig Wittgenstein” (2016), is a visual composition in which the logical space of a regular „white“ matrix of red, green and blue color cells, splits and opens itself with the overlapping of black stripes, and creates fascinating irrational color resonances. A endless space behind the logic of perception appears and extends itself in different ways from each viewing position.

This exceptional exhibition and concert–parcours through visual signs, notation systems and sound sculptures is also a continuation of our cooperation with the auction house “Artcurial”, which started in 2016 with the 1200m2 installation “Infinite Screen – The Babel Tower“ realised for Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, and with the simultaneous exhibition Light Cells at Artcurial exhibition Spaces in Vienna.

text and translation: Alexander Arotin / AROTIN & SERGHEI 2018

“For two colours (…) to be at one place in the visual field is impossible 

(…) it is excluded by the logical structure of colour 

(…) particles in different places at the same time cannot be identical” 

Wittgenstein -Tractatus Logico Philosophicus 6.3751 (1918)

“…Blanc sur blanc presque blanc…un metre carré jamais vu… bing hop bing ailleurs…” 

Samuel Beckett – Bing (1966)

The german pianist and conductor Michael Wendeberg is specialist for classical repertoire – from Bach to Schoenberg – as well as for new musical creation. Since 2011 he has held the musical directorship of the Ensemble Contrechamps in Geneva; in 2016, he also took up the position of “Erste Kapellmeister” at the Halle Opera. Michael Wendeberg has conducted renowned orchestras and ensembles including the Staatskapelle Berlin, WDR Symphony Orchestra, the Ensemble Modern, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Klangforum Wien — together with the first part of AROTIN & SERGHEI’s „Infinite Screen“.  He has made guest appearances at the Lucerne Festival, Munich Biennale, Bregenz Festival, Venice Biennale, as well as at Wien Modern. Michael Wendeberg held positions at the Nationaltheater Mannheim and the Staatsoper Berlin, where he assisted Daniel Barenboim and guest conductors such as Pierre Boulez and Sir Simon Rattle, and was principal conductor at the Lucerne Theater.
As a pianist, Michael Wendeberg has won several national and international piano competitions and performed as a soloist at renowned festivals and with prestigious orchestras under conductors such as Jonathan Nott, Marek Janowski and Daniel Barenboim. From 2000 until 2005 he was a member of the Ensemble intercontemporain and worked intensively with Pierre Boulez.
As part of the late composer’s 90th birthday celebrations at the Staatsoper Berlin in 2015, Michael Wendeberg undertook a genuinely Olympic feat of modern performance by playing the complete works for solo piano of Pierre Boulez. The starting point are the Douze Notations from 1945, regarded as the 20-year-old Boulez’s first composition. The landmark Second Sonata, completed in 1948, the Third Sonata, and Incises trace the master’s thinking across more than half a century. He will perform this program again in March 2018 in Pierre Boulez Hall Berlin and for a CD production.

The artwork of the future is for AROTIN & SERGHEI a composition of images, signs and ideas in Giordano Bruno’s sense of Inifinity, that involves the viewer in the dynamics of artistic research and creation. They situate themselves on the other side of the Wagner’s concept of Gesamtkunstwerk (total artwork): The interest lays not only in the addition of artistic disciplines in order to get a supreme effect that overwhelms the viewer in a finished work, but in a infinite splitting process of reflection and questioning that explores and deliberates the fascination of unknown space in between the known matrix of visual and acoustical signs, expressions and languages. Main topics of their work are the “surface of illusion”, the “error” as a creative space, the essence of images, of colour, light and sound, and the research of the impact of images in the context of artificial intelligence and media saturation.

Nowadays the quiet walls of the White Cube are transformed. Digital screens constantly submerge our brains with information on a intense frequency. Hence digital white appears as an oscillating sum of all potential inputs: light cells of our displays vibrate in maximal intensity. In our contemporary world, our media devices are constantly accelerating our communication, and perception, reducing in a certain way our impression of time and space. We are interested in creating artworks as objects of reflection, which suggest an augmentation of our vision, space and time. That is for us one of the main roles of art.
The artist continuous investigation of an infinite space for imagination was inspired by free thinkers, philosophers, architects and composers, from Mythology, Prehistory, Antiquity, through Renaissance, classical Modernism up to ourdays scientific futur research and metaphysics. Especially we were moved by artworks from Ovid’s Metamorphosis to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s colour theory, from Vitruve and Palladio’s floating theatre project (1564) in Venice up to Kandinsky’s theory of free floating forms (1928), Homer’s Golden Chain to Brancusi’s Infinite Column (1918), and sound spatialisation concepts from Scriabin, Schönberg and Bartòk to Luigi Nono and Pierre Boulez. A special impulse for AROTIN & SERGHEI’s creation came from the emblematic endless places described by Samuel Beckett.

Infinite Screen shows a giant labyrinth of light cells in a constant mutation and metamorphosis. It’s surface can be imagined as a tympanic membrane in the ear under hypnosis: inner and outer sounds come together. AROTIN & SERGHEI composition plays with collective memory, mythology and archetypes. The installation appears in an ever changing architectural, geometrical and cultural context. It reveals and dissolves emerging images and sounds and gives the rhythm to an endless journey.
The project questions the “grain of sense” of human perception in a fundamental way, treats about aesthetics, the notions of sound, harmony, infinity, beauty, sensuality and talks about an endless desire of colour and light.
The first part of Infinite Screen, was realized as a commission by La Biennale di Venezia and Klangforum Wien (2015) 11. The project was then further developed for the Festivals Ars Electronica 12 (2014–2016), for the Media Collection Deep Space 8K 13 (2015), and Fondation Beyeler 14 (2016). For the 125 years anniversary of Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien (2016), Infinite Screen was presented as a gigantic 1200m2 rotating installation on the Museum’s main facade 15, in cooperation with Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, museum in progress and Ars Electronica. Simultaneously, the auction house Artcurial 16 exhibited a selection of intermedial paintings.
The exhibition “Metamorphosis” in the baroque halls of the W&K – Palais Schönborn-Batthyány now shows for the first time an overview of the works on which the large-scale project “Infinite Screen” is based: Drawings, pictures and new monumental works in an innovative technology, which for the first time enables the creation of unique digital works.

> W&K — WIENERROITHER & KOHLBACHER  is one of the world’s first addresses for artworks of Viennese Modernism particularly Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka. In addition, the gallery program includes German Expressionists like Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Mueller, Erich Heckel, Franz Marc, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and international artists of classical modernism such as Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Lyonel Feininger or Joan Miro. At the representative rooms of the baroque Palais Schönborn-Batthyány W&K displays contemporary artists like Günther Uecker, Jürgen Messensee, Max Weiler and Heinz Mack.

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