The Record – 100 years
Record “past forward – Kunstverein Baden Celebrates 100 Years”
Size: 26.5 x 26.5 cm
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Kunstverein Baden Celebrates 100 Years
In 2015, the Kunstverein Baden celebrates its 100th anniversary. The first exhibitions were organized in 1916, promptly following its founding in 1915.
The Kunstverein Baden can look back on a rich and eventful history and development, peppered with numerous gaps and upheavals since its founding year. Issue no. 4a of a series of the city archives entitled “Badener Zuckerln” chronicles a “Baden Secession” in 1932 which consequently led to the first schism. 1938 brought about the dissolution of the Zentralverband bildender Künstler Österreichs (Central Association of Visual Artists), which was replaced by the Reichskammer der bildenden Künste Niederdonau (Reich Lower Danube Chamber of Fine Arts). Exhibitions during this destructive time were few and far between. It was not until 1953 that the association resumed its activities as an organization and has since been working continuously to facilitate and develop artistic enrichment for the city. Since 1995, the association has been operating from an architecturally compelling exhibition space: the gallery located at Beethovengasse 7 in the center of Baden.
At the former Beethoven residence “Haus der Neunten” just a few short steps from the gallery, one finds a plaque commemorating “Ode to Joy” which was composed there: a symphony, an anthem, a choir, polyphony – and the vision for the Kunstverein Baden anniversary commemoration record was born, a concept of inclusive technology featuring active and supporting members. Interviews allow us to get to know the artists and supporters, a recording of the many voices using a “cup phonograph” patterned after the Edison principle enables us to acoustically and aesthetically negotiate 100 years of the association’s activity. A cup often serves to unite us at the numerous openings in the art world; by registering sound, the sound itself becomes individualized, disturbingly beautiful, as if from a bygone era. The transparent plastic cup transfigures into a black vinyl record on which the grooves remain visible. Concept behooves material. past forward: We do not cleave to the old times, but remain poised in a delicate balance, remembering them, working with technological developments as a matter of course, and allowing ourselves to be open to an increasingly uncertain future.
The A-side of this record comprises the complete collected audio material, from recordings with the cup phonograph to fragments from the digitally recorded interviews of active members of the Kunstverein Baden. Arranged according to their favorite colors, a sound collage is generated and makes audible a contemporary abstracted choral piece of the members. A children’s song at the end urges us to remain experimental and pays tribute to the early steps in the life of the association.
The B-side is dedicated to all past and present members. Their names are arranged alphabetically on sheets of music, each letter is assigned a note – following the basic ABC song, the melody of which served as the basis for Mozart’s Twelve Variations on “Ah vous dirai-je, Maman,” K. 265/300e. This “score” is the starting point for two compositions: one piece in which the score is hummed to birdsong from memory, and a second piece in which the entire score, played forwards and backwards, allows all members to circle eternally.
Thomas Hörl and Peter Kozek aka kozek hörlonski
Baden and Vienna, July 2016