The Tristan Chord
Zona Maco, Mexico, 2019
Casas Riegner, Bogotá, 2013
Blank Projects, Cape Town, 2012
Kunsthall Bergen, 2008
A paper dinosaur skeleton hangs from the ceiling, as it would in a natural history museum. It is suspended by a system of strings and weights. Every day at a certain time, a gallery attendant switches the piece on: a small motor releases the supports according to a predetermined rhythm, making the figure fall slowly to the ground. When the paper skeleton falls, its body accumulates injuries and decay.
Every time The Tristan Chord is exhibited it is hung differently and thus falls differently – the hanging translates into a choreography. This choreography is documented through drawings or scores, illustrating how the work is suspended, which are collected in an accompanying archive.
"(...) The marvelous cardboard bones start to shake as it is controlled by a secret score. When its mechanism is triggered, when the strings that hold it up begin to give, the animal begins to tumble: Its column shivers and its head plummets before a reality that its cardboard consciousness cannot comprehend. The beast ends up on the floor, its immense power reduced to a disorderly maquette. The whole event is moving and transcendental, and words are not enough to describe its greatness."
Fernando Gómez - "El Dinosaurio", El Tiempo, Bogotá. 15-03-13
"(...) There was something quite cinematic about it, the last steps of the ancient behemoth, with a movielike build up of tension and release. B-movie, though, with its Rube Goldberg machine aesthetic and hand finishes...The title The Tristan Chord began to intrigue me (mostly for its snappy resemblance to a Robert Ludlum title)...The chord occurs in the prelude to Wagner’s (date) opera Tristan und Isolde (listen for it in the 15th second of this rendition.) It is the musical equivalent of Manet’s Olympia, shocking, surprising and wholly Modern. The chord is described as having an incredible tension, discordant without any resolution and the first marker of Modernist atonality...It’s a lot of weight for a paper bone machine to bear, one would think. But that same seemingly revolutionary discordancy is familiar to me from any thriller and horror, the majesty of an opera transformed into a gaudy heightening of movie terror, fake blood, swords and gorillas fighting T-Rexes. The bathos of the dinosaur collapsing into a pile, the Old stuttering through a series of tensions without resolution, seems amazingly poetic."
Chad Russow - "Machine Worries", Art throb, South Africa. 04-10-13
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