Moscow Solos

Expanding Space: Out Of The Centre presents
Moscow solos. Kunsthalle for Music
Throughout 2019

Expanding Space: Out Of The Centre, a series of new community engagement projects held in areas on the outskirts of the city of Moscow throughout 2019, presents Moscow solos. Kunsthalle for music. Consisting of short music interventions taking place in four different open-air markets in Moscow, the project is produced by V–A–C Foundation and Kunsthalle for Music, a nomadic institution founded by Ari Benjamin Meyers and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (Rotterdam). With this itinerant project, Kunsthalle for Music aims to develop new forms of production, presentation and distribution of music within the context of contemporary art and outside established industry formats. Moscow solos is the third leg of the Solos series, after Hong Kong and Rotterdam and, as with the previous two, is presented in popular open-air public spaces, such as food markets. The will to explore the city scape in a performative context and mix that with everyday life led V–A–C and Kunsthalle for Music to choose food markets as venues for the performances. The project also goes one further by reaching out to the market staff, both sellers and admin workers, who are invited to collaborate and perform with selected artists and musicians who create scores – graphical, musical and textual – and rehearse them for a whole month in situ. This collaborative process has resulted in new music pieces that are inspired and influenced by their context and surroundings.

The V–A–C year long programme Expanding Space: Out Of The Centre explores the possibilities of collective and inclusive contemporary cultural practices, pushing the boundaries of traditional formats of cultural production and learning. V–A–C is expanding its reach outwards to opening dialogues with outlying local communities – via their cultural and educational infrastructure – and districts usually beyond the remit of contemporary art institutions. Focusing on different communities and their specific needs, artists, theatre directors, musicians, filmmakers and architects have developed projects in close dialogue with audience groups. The project, which takes on multiple formats, attempts to broaden the focus of existing local activities towards open and social participative practices as well as exploring their potential and meaning within the local context.

When asked about his initial idea behind Kunsthalle for Music, Ari Benjamin Meyers refers to the book by Marie-France Rafael Ari Benjamin Meyers: Music on Display (2016) and his reflection on the idea of Kunsthalle for Music, which led to his encounter with Defne Ayas, Director of Witte de With for Contemporary Art from 2012–2017, who invited the artist to realise Kunsthalle for Music for the first time at Witte de With for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam.
“In today’s classical concerts there is very little room for this, for the unrehearsed, the so-called extraneous or the contingency, even (or one could say especially) within contemporary music performance practice. We need the Philharmonie or La Scala in all its perfection like we need museums to display the old masters, but we also need another kind of space for contemporary music performance that hasn’t really existed until now, let’s call it a ‘Kunsthalle’ for music. We as composers and musicians haven’t traditionally had this playground as we know it in contemporary art. As a composer I feel a strong pull towards a non-goal oriented musical space, the derive. An art space has of course its own rules, but is still a space you can navigate at your own pace.”
(Ari Benjamin Meyers in Music on Display (2016) by Marie-France Rafael)

Ari Benjamin Meyers (b. 1972, USA) lives and works in Berlin. Meyers received his training as a pianist, composer, and conductor at The Juilliard School, Yale University, and Peabody Institute. Trading the concert format for that of the exhibition, his works as an artist – such as Kunsthalle for Music (2018), Symphony 80 (with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra) and Solo for Ayumi (both 2017) – explore structures and processes that redefine the performative, social, and ephemeral nature of music as well as the relationship between performer and audience. His diverse practice features musical performances for the stage and exhibition spaces as well as three operas including a commission for the Semperoper Dresden and a ballet for the Paris Opera. He has collaborated with artists including Tino Sehgal, Anri Sala, and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and bands such as The Residents, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Chicks on Speed. Recent solo shows include Tacet at Kunstverein Kassel (2019) and In Concert at OGR Turin (2019). His works have been shown at Frac Franche-Comté (2019); Pinault Collection, Punta della Dogana (2019); Liverpool Biennial (2018); Nowy Teatr, Warsaw (2018); Public Art Munich (2018); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2018); Biennale de Lyon (2017); Spring Workshop, Hong Kong (2017); Esther Schipper, Berlin (2017); Lenbachhaus, Munich (2017); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2016).