The Tristan Chord

The Tristan Chord_Pedro Gomez-Egana.JPG
4. The Tristan Chord_Pedro Gomez-Egana.jpg

Kunsthall Bergen, Norway, 2008  

Blank Projects, Cape Town, South Africa, 2012  

Casas Riegner, Bogotá, Colombia, 2013

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 enters the room and activates it. A small motor releases the supports according to a predetermined rhythm, making the dinosaur skeleton fall slowly to the ground. When the paper skeleton falls, its fragile body accumulates injuries and decay. The beast ends up on the floor, its immense power reduced to a disorderly maquette.


"(...) 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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