On the one hand, the work refers to such art-historical traditions as the modern avant-garde and Oskar Schlemmer’s Das Triadische Ballett (1919–1922), whose playful approach to geometrical forms in connection with dance and performance was first discovered by the artist in the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart during her time as a student. The references to performance in the 1970s are equally important. Certain aspects of Aladağ’s work, in particular the accordions, which fold out in a manner reminiscent of wings, and the rainmaker’s hat, which demands a sense of equilibrium and a mastery of the body, allude to Rebecca Horn’s body instruments (e.g. Weisser Körperfächer, Balancestab, both 1972). The questions addressed by Horn’s works vis-à-vis the relationship between bodies and movement and the potential of sculptural extensions to the body are followed up by Body Instruments, particularly in terms of sound.
Body Instruments owes its topicality and conciseness to the fact that Aladağ applies these art-historical approaches and formal languages, while simultaneously interweaving them with levels of historical and social meaning. For example, the work refers to the richly diverse tradition of making music in public, which stretches from the wearing of bells by medieval jesters and fairy tales involving ratcatchers, via sacred and profane processional customs to modern street music. And the figure of the busker also invokes questions of social status and of how society negotiates the use of the public realm. With its bells, accordions and two different forms of drum, the performance combines instruments drawn from a range of temporal and spatial contexts. The common factor shared by these instruments is that they are all found beyond the confines of western classical music. Played together, they thus create a piece of experimental music that achieves a balance between the essential sounds generated by actions such as walking and the more poetic ones that result from consciously chosen movements.
Commissioned by Museum Tinguely, Basel as part of Museum Tinguely AHOY!
Concept and choreography: Nevin Aladağ
Performers: Przemek Kamiński, Darko Radosavljev
Curator, Museum Tinguely: Dr Sandra Beate Reimann
Production Manager: Attila Gaspar