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Zarouhie Abdalian / MATRIX 249 (August 2—September 29, 2013)
OAKLAND-BASED ARTIST’S FIRST SOLO EXHIBITION IN A MUSEUM INCLUDES NEW SCULPTURES THAT EXPLORE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE AUDIBLE AND INAUDIBLE, THE VISIBLE AND THE INVISIBLE
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Berkeley, CA, July 5, 2013—Zarouhie Abdalian / MATRIX 249 is the first solo exhibition in a museum by the Oakland-based artist. On view August 2 through September 29, 2013, the exhibition showcases three new minimalist sculptures by Abdalian, made specifically for the BAM/PFA presentation. The new series of works relate to an upcoming public art project commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) as part of its biennial SECA Art Award exhibition this fall.
Pete Seeger and Lee Hays’s iconic folk song “If I Had Hammer (The Hammer Song)” serves as an integral point of reflection for Abdalian’s sculpture Ad libitum (If I Had a Hammer), which consists of a long brass instrument wire extended along the concrete wall of the gallery. This popular song became an anthem for the civil rights movement of the sixties, and is the selected song of WikiLeaks. Bone bridge saddles are placed along the wire at intervals that visually express the collection of pitches in “If I Had a Hammer.” The strings are not meant to be played, however, leaving the melody of the song to the viewer to intuit. The piece loosely connects two additional sculptures on either side of the gallery: As a demonstration and Each envelope as before. The former consists of a continuously ringing electric alarm bell inside a vacuum chamber. As we see the metronomic hammering of the bell, we realize that we should also hear the noise it generates; yet since the sound does not have a medium to travel through, the hammering is inaudible.
Each envelope as before offers the inverse of the silently ringing bell. Little hammers tap the interior of an opaque black box, articulating its shape and volume, at approximately the same rate that the hammer hits the bell inside As a demonstration. We hear the hammers, but we can’t see them. Together these two works operate dialectically with two of our primary senses, sight and sound, with one sense acting as a perceptual foil for the other: what is heard cannot be seen and what is seen cannot be heard.
These works are related to a major public artwork that will be presented as part of SFMOMA’s forthcoming SECA Art Award exhibition. Sited in downtown Oakland around Frank Ogawa Plaza, Abdalian’s sound-based installation will be activated at different times of day during the run of the exhibition (September 14 and November 17, 2013). The work consists of brass bells placed on the rooftops of buildings near the plaza. The bells sound together once a day, at randomly determined times. Like the hammers tapping inside Each envelope as before, the bells are not visible, and thus one experiences the unexpected ringing without a visual reference point.
On the opening night of the MATRIX exhibition, Abdalian and Apsara DiQuinzio, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and Phyllis C. Wattis MATRIX Curator, will participate in an informal Q&A in the galleries. The discussion will be followed by a special L@TE: Friday Nights @ BAM/PFA event, programmed by the artist, that will feature seminal sound compositions by other artists that explore the relationship of sound and the site of production, performed by William Winant, Joseph Rosenzweig, and a cast of other musicians and artists.
Friday, August 2, 2013
Sounding the Path of the Signal
L@TE: Friday Nights @ BAM/PFA
Programmed by Zarouhie Abdalian
Each of the works in this evening’s program proposes a novel treatment of the interaction between sound and the specific site of its production.
Pauline Oliveros, Single Stroke Roll (1988)
Maryanne Amacher “Dense Boogie 1” from Sound Characters, (1999)
Peter Ablinger, The Real as Imaginary (2012)
Alvin Lucier, Silver Streetcar for the Orchestra (1988)
James Tenney, “Hocket for Henry Cowell” from Three Pieces for Drum Quartet (1974)
Maryanne Amacher, “Chorale 1” from Sound Characters (1999)
John Cage, 0'00" (4' 33" No. 2) (1962)
Alvin Lucier, Vespers (1968)
Performed by William Winant, Joseph Rosenzwieg, and others.
Performance preceded by an informal Q&A with Abdalian and curator Apsara DiQuinzio.
$7 general admission; free for BAM/PFA members and UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff
Doors 5 p.m. | Q&A 7 p.m. | Performance 7:30 p.m.
MATRIX 249 is organized by Apsara DiQuinzio, curator of modern and contemporary art and Phyllis C. Wattis MATRIX Curator. The MATRIX Program is made possible by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees.
About the Artist
Zarouhie Abdalian received her M.F.A. from California College of the Arts in 2010 and a B.A. from Tulane University in 2003. Since then she has exhibited solo projects and participated in many group exhibitions, both in the Bay Area and abroad, including Shanghai Biennial: Reactivation, Shanghai, 2012; the Moscow International Biennial for Young Art, Moscow, 2012; Material Information, Kunstindustrie Museum, Bergen, Norway, 2012; When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, 2012; Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011, Istanbul; and A Floorless Room Without Walls, The Lab, San Francisco, 2011 among others. Additionally, she will be included in the upcoming Prospect.3, New Orleans, opening in 2014 as well as the 2012 SECA Art Award, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She lives and works in Oakland, and is represented by Altman Siegel, San Francisco.
The MATRIX Program for Contemporary Art introduces the Bay Area community to exceptional work being made internationally, nationally, and locally, creating a rich connection to the current dialogues on contemporary art and demonstrating that the art of this moment is vital, dynamic, and often challenging. Confronting traditional practices of display and encouraging new, open modes of analysis, MATRIX provides an experimental framework for an active interchange between the artist, the museum, and the viewer. Since the program's inception in 1978, MATRIX has featured artists such as John Baldessari, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Bourgeois, Sophie Calle, Nan Goldin, Eva Hesse, Sol LeWitt, Shirin Neshat, Nancy Spero, and Andy Warhol. In recent years MATRIX has embraced a greater international scope, with the roster including Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Peter Doig, Omer Fast, Tobias Rehberger, Ernesto Neto, Rosalind Nashashibi, Tomás Saraceno, Mario Garcia Torres, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, representing countries as diverse as Finland, Germany, Iran, Mexico, Thailand, Brazil, and many others.
Founded in 1963, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is UC Berkeley’s primary visual arts venue and among the largest university art museums in terms of size and audience in the United States. Internationally recognized for its art and film programming, BAM/PFA is a platform for cultural experiences that transform individuals, engage communities, and advance the local, national and global discourse on art and ideas. BAM/PFA’s mission is “to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through art and film.”
BAM/PFA presents approximately fifteen art exhibitions and 380 film programs each year. The museum’s collection of over 16,000 works of art includes important holdings of Neolithic Chinese ceramics, Ming and Qing Dynasty Chinese painting, Old Master works on paper, Italian Baroque painting, early American painting, Abstract Expressionist painting, contemporary photography, and video art. Its film archive of over 14,000 films and videos includes the largest collection of Japanese cinema outside of Japan, Hollywood classics, and silent film, as well hundreds of thousands of articles, reviews, posters, and other ephemera related to the history of film, many of which are digitally scanned and accessible online.
Location: 2626 Bancroft Way, just below College Avenue across from the UC Berkeley campus.
Gallery and Museum Store Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Open L@TE Fridays until 9 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Information: 24-hour recorded message (510) 642-0808; fax (510) 642-4889; TDD (510) 642-8734.