“Sound Chair”, “Sound Dome”, “Serpentinata”, “Sound Column”… - Bernhard Leitner’s sound space objects and installations are all accessible and useable for the visitor.
Leitner opens a new field of work and experiment, enabling us to experience space, acoustically as well as physically, the essential feature being the inseparability of the visual and acoustic components of his work.
The comprehensive exhibition on St. Pölten is the first retrospective of Bernhard Leitner in Austria: The internationally renowned artist has already participated in the documenta of Kassel as well as in the Venice Biennale. In St. Pölten’s Shedhalle he demonstrates how he transforms his sculptural and architectural ideas into physical perceptions by means of sound.
Not unlike the development of Musique concrète and Electronic music, Leitner’s universalist focus is characterized by the extension of spatial sound volume as well as the end of frontal musicality on the one hand, and the combination of sound and visual arts as creative material on the other hand.
Not merely conforming to musical parameters he transcends the canon of traditional musical creation, searching for an approach to the materiality of the sound object – in Leitner’s work space and its dimensions become essential material components of sound.
Space as such remains subject to differing approaches. From a geometrical point of view, space can be regarded as the location of dimensionality, as a continuous phenomenon without any limits.
From a physical point of view, the problem of space touches questions of time and matter. Leitner’s artistic responses to these questions influence, just like in physics, the geometrical nature of space, in physical terminology multidimensionality, hyperspace and the spacetime continuum come to mind.
Sound is always a part of Leitner’s space, this space often being formed by sound, it has a material body which is an inseparable part of space whenever it is dispersing in it, informing about of its dimensions and even about the nature of the material that surrounds it.
In his multidimensional combination of disciplines, like music, multimedia art, architecture and the visual arts including sculpture, there is an awareness of the spatial and dimensional particularities of sound. Leitner includes sounds as plastic, non-musical elements in his work. Sometimes this sound element is not defined as a principal part as such, but is still a key element, essential for the reception of the work.
As is the case in architecture or sculpture, the perceptible sound mass transforms space, occupies it, and modifies itself within a dimension that combines sound and sculpture.
Space becomes a frame that absorbs and contains the acoustic representation, especially when several senses are involved in this spatial sound experience. The illusions of acoustic space are mental constructions, conceptual projections, where the mind locates virtual sources and shapes the acoustic experience.
These constructions are delicate and fragile; they can be disproved by the inconsistent manifestness of real space, and particularly by other sensory perceptions: sight dominates hearing and the reverberation of the material components can disturb the imagined space. Hence the importance of the frame of representation in Leitner’s installations, it ensures precision of the acoustic creations that operate in space.
Thus space is being configured and considered as part and object of artistic manifestations. It is essentially linked to the acoustic creation in which it expands and moves, providing the listener with sensual and visual acoustic experiences which are inseparables from the activities of viewing and listening. (written by Cem Angeli)
ZeitKunst Niederösterreich, zeitkunstnoe.at
An artist-portrait by CastYourArt, castyourart.com