Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
Gregor Hildebrandt’s new exhibit “Die Geschichte läuft über uns” at Galerie Perrotin in New York is all about the way we consume music. He’s taken apart 27,000 cassette tapes, painted with their remnants, and warped thousands of vinyl records into a “wall of sound.”
The title of the piece, Schallmauer, translates to “Sonic Barrier” or what in America we would call a “sonic boom,” the startling noise created when an object breaks through the air faster than the speed of sound. In German, as well as in French (mur du son), the name conjures images of a wall that serves as a sound barrier, but in English the name focuses on the sound, not the aesthetic.
Schallmauer consists of pillars of stacked, bowl-shaped records that block the viewer’s entry into the gallery, forcing us to walk around it. The piece enables us to take a moment and reflect on the way we pass through spaces.
Said Hildebrandt, “I wanted to create a new space with four walls. Creating a face-to-face translation for the different paintings. All the black parts of this painting are black in this one, balancing the positive and negative space.”
On each of the room’s walls are paintings interlaced with cassette tape scraps from the song “The Garden” by Berlin industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten. The titles of these pieces correspond to lyrics from this song. Hung between the paintings are black curtains created from videotape reels of Wings of Desire. The artist said he wanted to bring a piece of Berlin to New York.
When asked how he produces the paintings, he said, “In the ripping-off process, the coated side of cassette tapes is put on double-sided adhesive tape, the coat is pressed onto it with a painterly gesture with a brush or a roller, and then the cassette tapes are taken off again. This process can be repeated several times on different canvases, resulting in ever more delicate structures. Finally, the tapes are glued onto a canvas for good. They form the negative.”
Downstairs, a “crypt” full of hollowed out cassette tapes covers the floor. Die Geschichte läuft über uns, which translates to “The Story Runs About Us,” is also the title of the show. The piece is a mosaic of over 27,000 tiny felt pressure pad pieces. That’s the part of the cassette the tape moves over in order to play, a metaphor for the story (the song) running around or through us. Said Hildebrandt, “It can translate to ‘the story’ or ‘the history’ or it can be both. The history can be going over us and we are only a part of it, or it can be individual.”
“Die Geschichte läuft über uns” will be on view at Galerie Perrotin, New York through February 22.