Allora & Calzadilla: Stop, Repair, Prepare

January 23 - February 21, 2009
New York | 24th Street

Gladstone Gallery is pleased to announce its first exhibition with artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla. Since 1995, Allora & Calzadilla have developed a complex artistic vocabulary utilizing films, installations, performances, and sculpture. Their artistic practice engages with history and contemporary geo-political realities, exposing their complicated dynamics, destabilizing and re-ordering them in ways that can be alternately humorous, poetic, and revelatory.

For this exhibition, they will present Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on Ode to Joy for a Prepared Piano, which was originally exhibited at Haus der Kunst, Munich in 2008. Blending sculpture and performance, Allora & Calzadilla have carved a hole in the center of an early 20th-century Bechstein piano, creating a void through which the performer stands to play the Fourth Movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Commonly known as the “Ode to Joy,” this famous final chorus has long been invoked as a musical representation of human fraternity and universal brotherhood in contexts as ideologically disparate as the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Ian Smith’s White Supremacist Rhodesia, and the Third Reich among many others. Today it is the official anthem of the European Union. Expanding the notions of both a prepared-piano and a player piano, the performer must reach over the keyboard and resituate his/her fingering of the keys both upside down and backwards while at times physically mobilizing the instrument to trace a path through the gallery. This structurally incomplete version of the ode (the hole in the piano renders two full octaves inoperative) creates variations on the corporeal as well as sonic dimension of the player/instrument dynamic, the signature melody being played, and its pre-established connotations. With Stop, Repair, Prepare, Allora & Calzadilla explore the fluid and organic relationships inherent in music, exposing the varied dynamics between composition and meaning, instrument and performance, while tracking the political and artistic sentiments involved in music’s history. Throughout the exhibition, there will be hourly performances on Tuesday through Saturday by the following pianists: Amir Khosrowpour, Kathy Tagg, Mia Elezovic, Sun Jun, Terezija Cukrov, Walter Aparicio.

Jennifer Allora (born 1974, USA) and Guillermo Calzadilla (born 1971, Cuba) have been collaborating since 1995. They have been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions around the world, including presentations at Haus der Kunst and Kunstverein München; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; San Francisco Art Institute; Whitechapel Art Gallery and the Serpentine Gallery, London; Kunsthalle Zurich; The Renaissance Society, Chicago; and Palais de Tokyo, Paris. They have also been included in group exhibitions such as “Prospect 1 New Orleans,” 2008; the 8th & 9th Lyon Biennales, 2005/2007; 2006 Whitney Biennial; 2005 Venice Biennale; “How Latitudes Become Form,” Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, 2003, and “Common Wealth,” Tate Modern, 2003. Allora & Calzadilla are based in San Juan, Puerto Rico and are presently DAAD scholarship holders in Berlin, Germany.