Tim Etchells, Together Apart, installation views Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2017, courtesy the artist, photos: Stefan Stark
Developed specifically for Kunstverein Braunschweig, Tim Etchells’ work Together Apart encompasses all fifteen rooms of the Villa Salve Hospes. In this expansive sound installation, language, not a physical object, is the focus. Multiple loudspeakers project the voice of an individual who gives visitors instructions; these consist of English forms of speech that metaphorically refer to different parts of the body: “Go with your heart,” “Keep your eyes peeled,” and “Keep your nose out of it.” While viewers attempt to mentally decipher, or perhaps physically implement , the mantra-like phrases of these interwoven sounds, the words take on a degree of urgency due to their presence in the space. As a listener, one inevitably has a sense of being personally addressed, and one finds oneself drawn into the situation.
The text stems from a ninety-minute improvisation that culminates in this linguistic composition. Both narrative and poetic at the same time, it subtly links the spaces of Kunstverein Braunschweig. Together Apart sparks associations that accompany or even guide visitors on a social, architectural, physical, and mental level as they make their way through the exhibition spaces. The sound collage repeatedly gives rise to perplexing moments, when scraps of text seem to alternate between their literal and metaphorical meanings or when these meaning seem to break down into syllables of sound through repetition.
Tim Etchells is known to a wide audience, primarily through his work with the postdramatic performance group Forced Entertainment since 1984. In his solo exhibition TOGETHER APART at Kunstverein Braunschweig he concentrates on a central aspect of the performative act: the spoken word. He explores not only the sounds of words but also the physical presence of language and even the (bodily) reaction of visitors. In this work Etchells pursues his interest in disrupting the traditional relationship between the body, movement, language, and the viewer in theater and contradicting conventional expectations. How can one make actors recede into the background—or even disappear—and instead activate the observer?
Curated by Christina Lehnert / Curatorial assistance: Miriam Bettin
The exhibition TOGETHER APART is made possible by:
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