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El Perro del Mar creates music inspired by Moderna Museet's collection
Sarah Assbring/El Perro del Mar in front of Rosemarie Trockel, After The Hunt (2013) and Study For After The Hunt (2013), and Robert Gober, Cat Litter (1989). Photo: Åsa Lundén/Moderna Museet.



STOCKHOLM.- In empty rooms with only the art keeping her company, El Perro del Mar has created music inspired by Moderna Museet’s collection. The resulting work FREE LAND will be broadcast live from the museum on May 26. It is music that has emerged during the solitude of the spring with Corona, but which is firmly rooted in the universal unity of art.

What does music that has been created from a museum collection of modern art sound like? On Mondays, when Moderna Museet is usually closed to visitors, Sarah Assbring - who in a music context is known by her alias El Perro del Mar - was to come to the museum on the island of Skeppsholmen in Stockholm to meet the art alone. The plan was for her to sit down somewhere in the collection and see where her inspiration took her. Sarah Assbring managed to visit Moderna Museet a few times before the world became paralyzed by the coronavirus, and her project had to continue in a different location.

- Corona is definitely a part of this work, says Sarah Assbring. I was very happy and excited when I got the invitation from Moderna Museet, and my first impulse was to create a kind of homage to the art museum or the artist. A patchwork of voices followed me as I walked alone through the empty rooms. When the museum closed and I wasn’t able to go back, when none of us could go back, the different voices became clearly one. It is from these voices that I created my work.

The work which is titled FREE LAND is a 20-minute piece that Sarah Assbring herself describes as a “live mix-tape”. On Tuesday, May 26, at 7 p.m, it is time for El Perro del Mar, together with musician Jacob Haage, to present the result of her encounters with Moderna Museet’s collection. FREE LAND will premiere in a live performance broadcast on the museum's Facebook page and Youtube channel. The music will also be released on streaming sites.

- The music is an homage to Moderna Museet. I have felt a great respect and reverence moving around in the rooms and the warehouses. Both for the artists behind the artworks, but also for art museums in general and Moderna Museet in particular. I usually think of a museum as a kind of secular holy place - a space for reflection and expansion. To be alone in an empty museum filled me with a sense of reverence. And peace.

The creation process has basically meant just walking around amongst the art and translating colours or hues into instrumentation, for example, where brushstrokes have brought to mind a roughness or attitude this has then been rendered in music. For Sarah Assbring, art has also previously served as an initiator for her own creation.

- In my work art is just as important, without it, I wouldn’t find as much meaning in what I do. I look to art when I’m lost or in search of answers in life. What I find most magical about art museums is that you walk in as one person and leave as another. You can never predict what an art museum will do to you or your outlook on life. That power is incomparable.

- El Perro del Mar is a musician who is constantly reevaluating her own expression and who with great emotion and sensitivity adds an artistic dimension to popular music. I am very much looking forward to hearing how Moderna Museet has inspired her, says Gitte Ørskou, Director of Moderna Museet.

Sarah Assbring debuted under her alias El Perro del Mar in May 2005. She has since then released five more albums, been nominated and received several music awards and toured the world.










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