Documentation, Aargauer Kunsthaus, 10/2020 (camera: Meret Bhend)

act 1 (starring mm(14), mm(21) & mm(03), previously known as T)
audio loop 26’40’’ via 3 active speakers;
75 carpeting fragments (18,75m2); 1 white plastic folding chair ; 1 pillow;
3 digital prints, 297 x 840 mm


"(...) For her CARAVAN exhibition Mächler realises a sound installation, responding to the situation on the upper floor of the Aargauer Kunsthaus. In the skylight galleries of the original museum building from 1959 we find the presentation of the collection, which includes artworks from the nineteenth century to the present. The sequence of airy spaces and the ominous noises in the ceiling aroused Mächler’s interest. Her sound intervention disrupts the usual tour of the collection galleries.
Three audio tracks lead us through the upper floor. Though played in different spaces, they are acoustically interrelated. What do we hear? Who is communicating to whom here? Following a chronological choreography, a humming and murmuring can be heard. The sound combines with a visual, verbalised dimension in the space: scripts printed on strips of paper. Why are the poetic passages not being voiced? Can the voices be understood as a refusal of their attributed roles? The artist sees the interplay of the three scripts – specifically being distributed over the loudspeakers – as symbolic of the multi-voicedness and multi-layeredness of the self. In the process, the self reveals itself as fragmented, as if made up of multiple personalities. The body is present only through the sound of the voice.
Mächler is interested in human expressions and behaviours and explores the relationship between mind and body. She raises questions of a psychological and social nature which are associated with emotions and mental processes. What forms can one’s own self take? What ideas do we have about normative gestures, forms of communication and ways of speaking performed by the body? In the scripts, we read thoughts about such questions – sometimes humorous, sometimes emphatic ones. The dreamy melodies create intimate, thoughtful moments. Sometimes the voice pauses, creating voids which point to the inner turmoil and vulnerability of the self, which Mächler marks with incarnations of the monstrous. She is particularly interested in mythological and fantastic aquatic creatures like sirens, mermaids or undines.
In addition to the timbre and rhythm of the voice, Mächler references the acoustics of the exhibition spaces in her installation – the creaking of the glass ceiling of the squeaking of the floor. These become additional protagonists of the sound installation. When the sounds fall silent, we become all the more aware of the presence of the loudspeakers arranged by Mächler: like small creatures, detached from any voice, they stand in the room and fuel our expectation of an auditory sensation. (...)"

excerpt from the CARAVAN 2/2020 booklet text written by Sabrina Negroni & Yasmin Afschar

shown at and conceived for: CARAVAN 2/2020: Martina Mächler at Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau (06.09.2020 - 25.10.2020), curated by Yasmin Afschar (curator) and Sabrina Negroni (curatorial intern)
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