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thematic path
May 25-31, 2020


Another selection of artworks from the WRO collection. This week we are showing recordings of the world premieres and other renditions of musical pieces which revolve around the interconnections and interrelations between sound and image, where the visual layer and a sonic exploration of instruments as expanded objects of art fuse into one.

Bjørn Erik Haugen’s installation is based on a piano transcription of a lecture by Jacques Lacan which was interrupted by an incident rather unusual in contemporary academia. As the famous theorist is delivering his talk, a student stages his own situationist revolt by splashing water on Lacan’s notes and throwing flour all over them as a protest against the psychoanalytical definition of reality. To convey the scene, Haugen relies on a grand piano, a deeply symbolically charged instrument which connotes patriarchy and the artistic aspirations of bourgeois culture.

Jarosław Kapuściński’s concert Catch the Tiger! was played at the Polish Television Studio in Wroclaw in 1995. Kapuściński created a unique piece which explored links between word and sound. The tones played by Kapuściński served to control a projection of letters and numbers ascribed to the respective piano keys. The incessant production of images came to a halt as soon as the pianist’s fingers stopped moving.

Robert Cahen turns Chopin inside out. His Chopinpiano included a revamped 19th-century grand piano suspended from the ceiling bottom up. Below, as if in a mirror reflection, Cahen placed a video showing young hands playing Chopin’s music. Cahen’s intrinsically avant-garde gesture of inverting the structure of the world and turning the piano upside down reverses popular associations with the instrument and the sounds it produces. While rebelling against the entrenched intersubjective connotations, it explores other dimensions of Chopin’s art.

Małgorzata Klajn and Wiktor Przybył performed a concert in commemoration of Annelie De Man. The two artists used a multimedia form combining harpsichord music with real and digitally generated images in search of a suitable visual language. As the movements of the piece are played, they generate in real time images in which sounds are translated into visuals.

Jaron Lanier’s concert of 2000 addressed the formation and development of visual and sound idioms. Known for his analytical attitude to digital technologies, the artist sought to re-install the human in the domain of arts. In Shards, he plays his piano generating various visual, amorphous, trash shapes. Lanier engineers the entire process of art, the crafting of digital, virtual images, and extracting them from nothingness.

Attention: Light! 2.0 has a lengthy history of its own. Several years earlier, Józef Robakowski and Paul Sharits made a short film based on the notes Sharits took impressed by Chopin’s music. In this way the video Attention: Light! came into being. Attention: Light! 2.0, a new iteration of the project, attempts to transpose the videotape onto software for manipulating light and color. As each of Chopin’s notes generates color transformations on the screen mounted over the piano, synaesthetic experiences are induced and sustained.

Jarosław Kapuściński plays Chopin’s preludes while a projection simultaneously shows listeners’ emotional responses to the musician’s performance. The quality of the rendition of Chopin’s scores is expressed on the faces of listeners from all over the world, as they gradually emerge while the music is played. The installation amalgamates the emotionalities of the performer and the audience into one artistic fact.



Bjørn Erik Haugen (NO)
What Does It Matter How Many Lovers You Have If None of Them Gives You the Universe
documentation of the installation
WRO Art Center
3-10 October, 2014

Jarosław Kapuściński (PL/US)
Catch the Tiger
Composers’ Night
TVP studio in Wroclaw
5th Media Art Biennale WRO 95

Robert Cahen (FR)
CHOPINPIANO. Hommage à Chopin
docummentation of the installation
Chopinpiano Apparitions/Disparitions exhibition
WRO Art Center
and New Horizons Cinema
15th Media Art Biennale WRO 2013 Pioneering Values

Wiktor Przybył + Małgorzata Klajn (PL)
In Memoriam Annelie de Man
White Stork Synagogue
17th Media Art Biennale WRO 2017 DRAFT SYSTEMS

Jaron Lanier (US)
for piano and virtual world
An Evening of Music for Virtual Worlds, Chamber Orchestra, and Solo Instruments
Aula Leopoldinum

Józef Robakowski (PL)
collaboration: Paweł Janicki, Wiesław Michalak
Attention: Light! 2.0
documentation of the installation
Dilston Grove, London
Sep 25 – Oct 10, 2010

Jarosław Kapuściński (PL/US)
Where is Chopin?
excerpt from the concert
Pokoyhof Passage
14th Media Art Biennale WRO 2011 Alternative Now