Wellington Scoop

Evolution of experimental music – new exhibition at Adam Gallery

News from Adam Art Gallery
Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi at Victoria University of Wellington launches its 2019 programme with the exhibition Passages, featuring three artists who are internationally renowned for their work with sound.

Passages presents an integrated triad of time-based installations by Susan Philipsz, Luke Fowler, and Florian Hecker, with each artist’s work occupying a single level of the Gallery. Programmed to ‘play’ episodically to create a chain of sonic events that activate the Adam’s architecture, the exhibition will deliver a set of immersive sensory experiences.

Curator Stephen Cleland says the three artists have been brought together because each, in distinct ways, foregrounds and reflects on the history of electronic and experimental music as it has evolved through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

“Each artist specifically cites and extends the ambitions of highly progressive composers. In doing so,the exhibition uniquely traverses radical turns in musical composition, such as the development of serial music, innovations brought about by electroacoustic composers, and multi-channel sound installations.”

Cleland says that while contemporary artists have long been interested in exploring the sculptural potential of sound, exhibitions like Passages still present unique challenges. “With a total of 23 speakers and three video projections being synchronised and distributed across our three-level building, this exhibition is an extraordinary logistical undertaking which has involved numerous technicians in dialogue with the artists and Gallery staff.

“Experienced in situ, the exhibition is a unique opportunity to consider the physical qualities of sound, how music bypasses our cognitive faculties and directly accesses the senses.”

Christina Barton, Director of Adam Art Gallery, says “All three artists offer unique contributions to their field and each has undertaken impressive projects at major art galleries around the world. It is a privilege to host these artists’ works in New Zealand at a gallery that has long been appreciated for its acoustic qualities.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī to augment this exhibition with a fascinating programme of talks, screenings and performances, proving that Victoria University of Wellington takes its role seriously as a leader in the sonic arts.”

Glasgow artist Luke Fowler and Berlin-based artist Susan Philipsz will visit Wellington for the exhibition, with Fowler presenting a one-off screening of his film Pilgrimage from Scattered Points at City Gallery on Thursday 14 February and performing a live work at Victoria University of Wellington’s Adam Concert Room on Saturday 16 February. Philipsz will deliver a public lecture at the Gallery on Monday 18 February, where she introduces her past installations as a context for her new work, White Flood, which is presented for the first time in Passages.

Exhibition: Passages: Luke Fowler, Florian Hecker, Susan Philipsz

When: 16 February – 21 April 2019

Opening week events:

Thursday 14 Feb, 6pm
Film screening of Pilgrimage from Scattered Points by Luke Fowler
City Gallery Wellington

Fri 15 Feb, 5.30pm – 8pm
Exhibition opening for Passages
Adam Art Gallery

Sat 16 Feb, 8pm
Luke Fowler presents the multi-channel sound work GLYPHS (tapes from Martin’s Archive) by Fowler/Karel (2017)
Adam Concert Room

Mon 18 Feb, 6pm
Susan Philipsz public lecture
Adam Art Gallery

Cost: Free