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Showtime: Tel Aviv Museum of Art announces series of performances at Helena Rubinstein Pavilion
Janet Cardiff, The Forty-Part Motet (a reworking of Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis, 1573), 2001. Collection of Pamela and Richard Kramlich. Fractional and promised gift to American Fund for Tate Gallery, 2003. Photo: Oded Lobl.

TEL AVIV.- The compartmentalization of the different senses and their affiliation with distinct categories of artistic production has a long historical legacy, which has been critically reexamined by both modern and contemporary artists. In the course of the twentieth century, sound was introduced into the field of visual art in different ways and in various contexts: the Dada and Surrealist movements of the early twentieth century, the groundbreaking work of John Cage in the mid-twentieth, and the wide range of contemporary artists who have been incorporating sound into their works in recent decades. In this manner, numerous art movements, groups, and individuals have sought to undermine both visible and invisible divisions, to undo existing preconceptions, to create independent products, and to transform the viewer into a listener, explorer, and active participant.

This exhibition focuses on artists who approach sound in a visual manner, and on works that deliver sound as a physical presence in space. In addition to the presence of sound, which is incorporated into the works on view, the works will also examine, each in a different manner, the concept of the "show," while conceptually and physically deconstructing it within the exhibition space.

The works offer physical and sensorial experiences in which sound is the dominant structuring element. The viewer's movements in space are thus dictated by his attraction to or withdrawal from a specific vibration, sound wave, or field of sound. This is a process of exploration, of revelation, and of assimilation in a space that is not physically demarcated, yet is defined by the sound waves and virtual sound walls created within it.

The exhibition centers on the forefront of creative endeavors taking place in this context in both an international and a local context, while presenting a select group of site-specific works. The exhibition includes three large installations, each of which is displayed on a separate floor of the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion.

The upper level will feature The Forty-Part Motet (a reworking of Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis, 1573), 2001 by the Canadian artist Janet Cardiff.

The work is composed of 40 loudspeakers playing Tallis' well-known work. Arranged in an oval, these loudspeakers are the only presence in the exhibition space. The specific positioning of the speakers in the exhibition space, and the fact that each of the singers' voices was recorded individually, create a three-dimensional field of sound, in which the viewer may choose to focus on a single, specific voice or to stand at the center of the space and listen to the entire choir.

This work deconstructs the conventional spatial relations that structure the experience of listening to music in general, and to classical music in particular. In contrast to the acoustic conditions prevalent in cathedrals or concert halls, which are designed to direct the sound created by different voices to the center of the space, in this work it is sound that shapes and defines the space rather than being defined by it.

The work has been displayed in a range of exhibition spaces worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It is currently on permanent display at P.S. 1, New York.

The pavilion's ground floor will feature the work Propagation (Opus 2), 2013, by the Israeli artist Naama Tsabar, who lives and works in New York. This site-specific installation is composed of freestanding walls scattered throughout the exhibition space. The walls are each fitted with different type of musical stage equipment (an amplifier, loudspeakers, a stage monitor, and more), so that the amplifying part is embedded in the internal, hollow part of the wall. Like a room dismantled into individual components, the walls face in different directions throughout the space, supported by the equipment itself and thus elevated from the floor, so that they appear to be floating in space. Each of these walls functions both as an independent sculpture and as a functional amplifier, emanating sound from within – sound that is the result of a distant, ostensibly detached, musical action.

The artist and various musicians will perform on the work every Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

Participating musicians include: Tamar Aphek, Ariel Armoni, Or Edry, Roei Freilich, Ram Orion, Gilbert Broid, Maya Dunietz, Ben Drusinsky, Noam Inbar, Zoe Polanski, Neta Polturak, Avishag Cohen Rodrigues, Yaron Sarel, Gamliel Sasportas, Adam Scheflan, Naama Tsabar, Or Zubalsky (Juviley), and others.

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