Sculptural practice in the 20th century witnessed explosive innovation in its experiments with new mediums, bodily engagement, and theatricality as artists sought to expand our understanding of the dynamics between objects and space. One of the most radical developments was the use of sound to further explore those dynamics and test the boundaries of convention. Sound as Sculpture brings together foundational works from the 1960s and 1970s, alongside important recent and contemporary works, to examine the different ways in which artists have used sound to create an experience of space as time; play with the body’s ability to emit, transmit, perceive, and absorb sound; and draw on the psychological and poetic effects of sound in space.
Works in the exhibition include sculptural objects, performance, site-specific installation, video, archival material, and sound-only works that draw on the unique qualities of sound as an energetic, dimensional medium. The everywhere-ness of sound — its ability to surround us and to enter into a dialogue with our bodies as an envelope of vibrating waves — makes it an especially powerful sculptural material. It frames our experience of space as an unfolding event of bodily awareness, rather than as a container for things. The visitor’s body, or the artist’s body, is the site where much of the work in the exhibition takes place, and through the experience of these works, the body becomes a dynamic entity where consciousness and space meet.
Sound as Sculpture includes work from the Collection of the Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin; Cardiff & Miller (Courtesy of the artists and Luhring Augustine, New York); Collection of J. Patrick Collins; Dallas Museum of Art; Collection of Marguerite and Robert Hoffman; Private Collection of Timothy C. Headington; Holt/Smithson Foundation, Santa Fe; Collection of Ishikawa Foundation, Okayama, Japan (Courtesy of Pierre Huyghe and Esther Schipper, Berlin); Private Collection/Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz; Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen; The Menil Collection, Houston; The Museum of Modem Art, New York; The Rachofsky Collection; Collection of Deedie Rose; Nora Schultz (Courtesy of the artist, Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin, and O-Town House, Los Angeles); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Panza Collection; Haegue Yang (Courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali, New York); and The Estate of Minoru Yoshida: Courtesy of Ulterior Gallery, New York, NY.