Katja Strunz’s kinetic sound sculptures

08Jun10

Over the weekend I visited the Baltic in Gateshead where there was an exhibition of work by artists influecned by John Cage, called Cage Mix. I was pleased to see a work by Berlin based artist Katja Strunz who makes, amongst other things, sculptures which often feature kinetic elements and sound. 

“Katja Strunz has a constellation of components arranged on the slate floor comprising a series of brass and steel rods and parts from left over musical instruments, circular cymbals and the horn of a trumpet. Like sentinels marking time they appear associated with the production of sounds and form a bridge to astronomical listening; an aerial station of weathered instruments, the sounds of origins, and the source of the big bang.” (Baltic Website)

The moving elements were a metal ball which was periodically dragged to-and-fro across a corrugated piece of metal somewhat like a washboard, and a triggered finger of metal which struck a steel bowl. The spatial distribution of the cymbal like shapes on poles, the loose wires trailing across the floor and the overall ramshackle feel of the piece were appealing to me.

I first encountered Strunz’s work at her first solo UK show at Camden Arts Centre a few months ago which was a similar piece of work but on a larger scale. A large room was part filled with similar figures as described above, but also featured pre-recorded sounds eminating from speakers within rusty brass instruments and a wire leading to a microphone, accelorometer or other measuring instrument in a tree outside the window feeding sounds into the room.  The simple system of multichannel audio used – from a DVD player – is something I have used in my past work and Struz’s aesthetic is influencing my ideas for sculptures at the Rea Garden.

 

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