This Dutch Art Gallery Doesn't Have Any Art on the Walls

Kunsthalle for Music  © | Nieuwe Beelden Makers
Kunsthalle for Music © | Nieuwe Beelden Makers
Photo of Tom Coggins
3 February 2018

Throughout the first quarter of 2018, the Witte de With Center in Rotterdam will host an exhibition called Kunsthalle for Music that revolves around musical collaboration rather than traditional artwork. During this four hour installation, initiated by composer Ari Benjamin Meyers, eight musicians perform a varying selection of group pieces, solos and duets.

The ensemble rotates between a repertoire of 43 scores created by contemporary or modern composers including Philip Glass, Yoko Ono and Sofia Gubaidulina. These scores are performed at allocated spots around the gallery that are marked with museum labels.

Opening Kunsthalle for Music on January 25, 2018 at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art © | Nieuwe Beelden Makers

After completing their section, members of the ensemble move onto another location elsewhere in the gallery and then begin to play a different score altogether. Although the exhibition takes place during set times, it doesn’t follow a fixed programme and once the ensemble have finished a piece, they continue onto another without notifying their audience.

Kunsthalle for Music © | Nieuwe Beelden Makers

Variation and spontaneity are at the heart of the exhibition, and the ensemble’s repertoire includes compositions that foster or centre around improvised collaboration.

Kunsthalle for Music © | Nieuwe Beelden Makers

For instance, a piece by Tim Etchells, titled Of Sound Body (2017), calls for musicians to randomly choose four cards that are labelled with sounds made by the human body, such as ‘heartbeat’. The musicians then replicate these sounds via their instruments, translating organic noises into music and vice-versa. As each musician has their own interpretation of these cards, the piece develops down different avenues every time that it is performed.

Kunsthalle for Music © | Nieuwe Beelden Makers

These smaller and larger variations mean that Kunsthalle for Music changes significantly every day and de Witte de With Center encourages people to visit the installation more than once in order to experience a fuller measure of the ensemble’s dynamic repertoire.

Kunsthalle for Music © | Nieuwe Beelden Makers

📅 Friday, January 26 to Saturday, March 3 | Thursday, Saturday and Sunday: 13.00 – 17.00 | Friday: 17.00 – 21.00

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