Yngvild K. Rolland: Portrait of a Woman by the Piano
I perioden lørdag 1. mai — søndag 13. juni på Lydgalleriet i Bergen (26 forestillinger)
Portrait of a Woman at the Piano is an installation with sculpture and sound made for Lydgalleriet. In the exhibition, there is no portrait, no piano and no woman, other than the shadow of artist Yngvild K. Rolland through her work. In her practice there is a constant shifting perspective of what is there and what is not there, history and present, performer and spectator, of acts and counteracts.
This way of dealing with absence, the negative and contradictions is characteristic for Rollands work. In her practice there is a constant shifting perspective of what is there and what is not there, history and present, performer and spectator, of acts and counteracts. _
Portrait of a Woman at the Piano continues Rolland’s research of connections between music and art, where the music instrument is frequently used as material and as motif for interpretation. Her new work is influenced by ideas involving our recent cultural and social history, reflecting on the piano as an outdated symbol for Western wealth and civilisation. During the work process, Rolland became fascinated by women’s central role in the evolution of piano compositions, and how the piano has been interpreted as an 19th century icon of female sexuality. At Lydgalleriet the body is removed and her sculptures become bodies in an installation that contemplates on these issues, and draw a reversed line from contemporary culture to a time women’s piano skills was an important dowry.
Object. Yngvild K. Rolland’s sculptures at Lydgalleriet formally translate the shapes of grand pianos from different European manufacturers that have existed since early 19th century. From a collection of fifty shapes, she selected three for their scale, form and names, such as Imperial. The shapes have been reconstructed industrially into prototype sculptures in steel and wood, while the surface has been treated manually to create vibrating textures. Through this alteration from function to form, Rolland’s interest in the materiality of sound is combined with her frequent use of cultural recycling and references to art history, drawing parallels between sound, music instrument and abstract sculpture.
Sound. The sound of a grand piano resonates through 12 000 components of wood, iron, steel, copper and felt in an architectural form between 150 and 300 cm, that can carry the weight of more than 500 kg. The sound depends on human touch. Today the piano is formed into a virtual file in an increasing digital music production, something that alters the whole concept of instrument, performer, and their relation.
Rolland’s large-scale sculptures are passive yet activated by sound and therefore given a new function. Resonating trough the sculptures is a three channel sound piece, Passings, 2021, with one channel in each sculpture. For this conceptual piano work she has collaborated with sound designer Jun Mizumachi, and the original acoustic piano was recorded by Sebastian Rolland. A dramatic sequence that makes use of all 88 piano keys starts off the sound in Passings. The following composition happens in the interaction between audio channels. Each channel contains tones with specific note names, such as C-#C-D-#D, that have been arranged by a non-hierarchic approach to tonal arrangements. This idea of selecting different notes for different objects leaves a possibility for an absurdly large installation with 88 sculptures carrying one note each, with audible tones attacking and passing.
The exhibition is supported by: Bergersenstiftelsen, Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond Fegerstens stiftelse and Fond for lyd og bilde.