Galerie Crystal Ball

Wolfgang Müller – Lokomotion – Valeska Gert

Exhibition opening on Fri. 7. January 2011 at 8 pm

Fri. 11. February, Finissage at 8 p.m.: with the presentation of rare recordings of Valeska Gert: Valeska Gert reads from her book/Valeska is reading from her book: “Ich bin a Hexe” (9: 35 min.) and an interview with Valeska Gert from 1964 (27: 15 min.)

Wolfgang Müller Lokomotion - Valeska Gert Gallery Crystal Ball Berlin
Invitation card to Wolfgang Müller Lokomotion – Valeska Gert , 2010

Starting January 2011 Crystal Ball presents Wolfgang Müller´s „Lokomotion-Valeska Gert“, an installation of his same titled silk screens. The gallery space will become a break room. A place of persistence and hesitation is developing. With these silk screens the radical performance Pause by Valeska Gert (1892 – 1978) will be put forth. It is based on the only existing picture document, a 1928 printed photo.

At the same time to this, the exhibition “Pause. Valeska Gert: Bewegte Fragmente” at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, will run until the 6th of February. The show is currently curated by An Paenhuysen and Wolfgang Müller.

Concerning Valeska Gert´s Pause: In the cinema of the 2oth century due to the change of the film acts there were breaks. The managers of cinemas charged artists and musicians to fill in these gaps and bridge these technical discontinuities with short appearances.

Valeska Gerts dancing performance basically and radically experiments in her special realistic aesthetic with the trivial limits of technology. She materializes and doubles phenomena of discontinuity with her body, working with it as a substance. Therewith she opens a fundamental intermediate position to the mainstream during that time period it brought out in the euphoria of the futurists or the cultural pessimism of the conservative revolution.

The artist danced the Pause, using short and single movements that lead to a gesture with crossed arms overhead – and remained frozen “until everyone in the audience felt what a pause implies.” This Non Movement lasted till the end of the film break. “For all arts that are movement, like Happening and Performance, Pause of Valeska Gert is fundamental and similar to the composition 4´33 of

John Cage for the music” writes Wolfgang Müller. (Wolfgang Müller: Ästhetik der Präsenzen. Valeska Gert, Martin Schmitz Verlag, Berlin 2010.)

The installation „Lokomotion“ shows three silk screens which Wolfgang Müller created together with his assistant Hrafnkell Brynjarson from the only reproduced photo of Gert´s performance. The way of a technically established pause with the use of materials and body, displays Gert´s motion of repose. It also focuses a basic question of mankind: An ancient minimal definition of life is the possibility of animation from place to place (Loco-motion). What if the place itself moves? – Human being as a self animated movement? “Pause”, turns into a fundamental political issue and is emblazoned in red letters like the word “strike”!

The gallery invites everyone to meditation, contemplation, providing one leisure in-between calculated economical profit and our right on laziness.

Wolfgang Müller: Lokomotion - Valeska Gert
Lokomotion – Valeska Gert, Wolfgang Müller, screen printing

Wolfgang Müller – Séance Vocibus Avium

Exhibition opening in the Crystal Ball Gallery and the Dörrie Priess Gallery on 25 September at 7 pm

26. 9. – 6. 11. 2009

Hawaii Krausschwanz, Wolfgang Müller

Séance Vocibus Avium (I)

The only completely exterminated bird originally native to Europe is the North Atlantic giant auklet (Alca impennis). Its last occurrence is off the southern Icelandic coast on the rocky island of Eldey. On 3 June 1844, the last two birds, a breeding pair, were killed there by the fishermen Jón Brandsson, Sigurður Ísleifsson and Ketill Ketillson from Hafnir by turning their necks in order to sell their bellows and offal to a Danish bird collector. This silences the bird’s song forever.

After his first trip to Iceland in 1990, Wolfgang Müller formed a giant auk from modelling clay, fabric, paper, paint and chicken feathers. In 1994, on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of its extermination, he reconstructed the bird’s vocalizations in the radio play studio of the Icelandic radio station stöð 2, using the Icelandic actress Kristbjörg Kjeld as his medium. Using modern studio technology, the bird’s calls are reconstructed and thus made audible for the first time since its extinction in 1844. The reconstruction is based on historical scientific descriptions, such as those of Dr. Alfred Newton from Cambridge. In 1854 he asked the sailors from Hafnir about the last minutes in the life of the last giant eagles and published their detailed statements in 1858 in the ornithological journal “Ibis”.

Other bird species, mostly exterminated by direct or indirect human intervention, originate mainly from North and Central America, Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand and the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Since the 16th century, an estimated one hundred and fifty bird species have become extinct. Descriptions of the vocalizations of very few of these exist.

In addition to the giant eagle, ten other bird species are among them, whose calls can now be heard simultaneously in the Galerie Dörrie * Priess and the Galerie Crystal Ball. Wolfgang Müller gave ten well-known musicians scientific descriptions of a selected species and asked the respective participants to leave their bodies and slip into the bird body assigned to them. At the moment the bird becomes a bird, music and musicians disappear. The calls of long-silenced birds resound.

Séance Vocibus Avium

  1. Coturnix Novae-Zelandiae, Neuseeländische Schwarzbrustwachtel, † 1875. (Namosh)
  2. Hawaii-Krausschwanz, Moho Nobilis, † 1934. (Max Müller)
  3. Assumption-Weißkehlralle, Dryolimnas Cuvieri Abbiotti, Unbekannt. (Frieder Butzmann)
  4. Jamaika Teufelssturmvogel, Pterodroma Hasitata Caribbaea, Unbekannt. (Justus Köhnke)
  5. Mauritiusfruchttaube, Alectroenas Nitidissima, † 1930. (Annette Humpe)
  6. Präriehuhn, Tympanuchus Cupidio Cupido, † 1932. (Francoise Cactus/Brezel Göring)
  7. Lachkauz, Sceloglaux Albifacies, † 1914. (Nicholas Bussmann)
  8. Lord-Howe-Inselrasse des Norfolkstars, Aplonis Fuscus Hullianus, † 1923. (Hartmut Andryczuk)
  9. Guadalupe-Caracara, Polyborus Lutosus, † 1900. (Khan)
  10. Riesenalk, Alca impennis, † 1844. (Kristbjörg Kjeld/Wolfgang Müller)

Séance Vocibus Avium (II)

The corresponding radio play “Séance Vocibus Avium” of the artist just won the Karl-Szuka-Award 2009 – considered the most renowned award for audio art in Europe. In the exhibition Séance Vocibus Avium, taking place in two Berlin galleries – Crystal Ball and Dörrie Priess – Wolfgang Müller presents drawings and audio sounds he produced, based on historical and scientific descriptions of eleven extinct birds. The simultaneous presentation of Séance Vocibus Avium in the context of two different gallery spaces continues Wolfgang Müller’s concept: the synchronism of analogy and diversity. Wolfgang Müller enlisted the help of prominent musician friends: Namosh, Khan, Justus Köhncke, Nicholas Bussmann, Max Müller, Stereo Total, Frieder Butzmann and Annette Humpe- in the reconstruction of the bird sounds. With delicately rendered colour pencil drawings Müller approaches the shape of the lost birds.

His reconstruction process begins with the available materials: taxidermy birds, historical images and scientific descriptions concerning the behavior of the species. The resulting drawings are different for each species, but unmistakably related. Wolfgang Müller opens up a novel space with his work. It stands in a touching alliance to the scientific efforts, to describe and comprehend these no longer existing animals. A new reality is created.

Séance Vocibus Avium, Wolfgang Müller


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