Art or Sound

2014 will see the Fondazione Prada present the exhibition ‘Art or Sound’ at its Venetian venue of Ca’ Corner della Regina.

For the first time since the Venetian palazzo was reopened to the public, the rooms on the second piano nobile will be used: space that has been restored as part of the renovation of the building undertaken in 2011 by the Fondazione Prada.

Curated by Germano Celant, conceived as an investigation of the past and our present, ‘Art or Sound’ will offer a reinterpretation of the musical instrument and the way it can become a sculptural-visual entity and back again, in a continual reciprocal relationship of encroachment and inversion, a phenomenon seen since the 17th century.

Organized on a historical basis, the exhibition will commence with musical instruments made from unusual and precious materials by Michele Antonio Grandi and Giovanni Battista Casarini in the 17th century, and musical automata—complex artworks that combine the production of sounds with aesthetic values—created, for instance, by the Swiss watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz in the 18th century. It will continue with 19th-century examples of automated musical instruments and mechanical devices capable of giving visual expression to music through light and color. Research in the field of the synesthesia will be presented, along with experiments carried out by the historical avant-gardes, such as the celebrated Intonarumori (1913) created by Futurist artist Luigi Russolo, and some of Giacomo Balla’s objects.

Also exhibited will be instruments and works by composers like Alvin Lucier and John Cage, works by artists of the Sixties, such as the sound boxes of Robert Morris and Nam June Paik, kinetic sculptures made by artists like Takis and Stephan von Huene, and sound installations like Robert Rauschenberg’s Oracle (1962-’65) and Laurie Anderson’s Handphone Table (1978). There will also be examples of the iconic and formal appropriation of the musical instrument, such as the pianos created by Arman, Richard Artschwager and Joseph Beuys, and hybrid instruments like the guitars and the violins of Ken Butler and the banjos of William T. Wiley, which are genuine sculptures that can be played. This exploration of the ambiguous overlap between art and sound will go on to cover the more recent research of artists like Christian Marclay, Janet Cardiff, Martin Creed and Doug Aitken, and the production of a newer generation, represented by Anri Sala, Athanasios Argianas, Haroon Mirza, Ruth Ewan and Maywa Denki, among others.

The exhibition will be accompanied and completed by an exhaustive publication by theFondazione Prada. Through the essay by Germano Celant and various contributions by musicologists, visual artists, musicians, composers and art historians, such as Jo Applin, Luciano Chessa, Christopoh Cox, Geeta Dayal, Patrick Feaster, Christoph E. Hänggi, Bart Hopkin, Douglas Kahn, Alan Licht, Andrea Lissoni, Noel Lobley, Deirdre Loughridge, Simone Menegoi, Holly Rogers, Jonathan Sterne, David Toop, John Tresch, Eric de Visscher and Rob Young.

Preview: from Wednesday 4 June to Friday 6 June 2014

  • Open:
    Saturday, 07 June 2014
  • Close:
    Monday, 03 November 2014
  • Address:
    Santa Croce, Calle de Ca’ Corner 2215, Venice
  • Mail:
  • Phone:
    +39 041 81 09 161
  • Web:
    Fondazione Prada
  • Opening hour:
    10am – 6pm
  • Closing day:
  • Transport:
    Linea 1, stop San Stae, Rialto Mercato
  • Photo credits:
    1. Unknown: Cornet à bouquin ténor en forme de serpent et à tête de dragon (17th century), Photo by Albert Giordan, Courtesy Collection Musée de la Musique, Paris; 2. Joe Jones: Bird Cage (1964), Courtesy Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, former Hahn Collection, Cologne, © Joe Jones; 3. Laurie Anderson: Numbers Runners (1979), Courtesy Private Collection; 4. Arman: The Spirit of Yamaha (1997), Courtesy The Arman Studio Archives, New York © SIAE 2014. Courtesy of Fondazione Prada

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