Sounding the Body Electric: Experiments in Art and Music in Eastern Europe 1957-1984

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'Destroyed Music', 1963-1979

Courtesy of Kontakt. The Art Collection of Erste Group and ERSTE Foundation

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early 1960s

Photo of Experimental Studio of Polish Radio in the early 1960s

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'Selected Folk Poems 4', 1973-1975

Courtesy of Kontakt. The Art Collection of Erste Group and ERSTE Foundation

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'PR – I VIII', 1972

Courtesy of the collection of Muzeum Sztuki, Łodź

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'Music Writing: Passport, from the Codes series', 1976

Courtesy of the Former Komar&Melamid Art Studio Archive

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‘Kalah’, 1980

‘Kalah’, a film by Dóra Maurer, András Klausz and Zoltán Jeney, 1980. Installation view, ‘Sounding the Body Electric: Experiments in Art and Music in Eastern Europe, 1957-1984’, Curated by David Crowley and Daniel Muzyczuk, Calvert 22 Foundation. Photo: Steve White

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Frames from 'Kalah', 1980

A film by Dóra Maurer, András Klausz and Zoltán Jeney, 1980. Courtesy of Dóra Maurer

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‘Kalah’, 1980

‘Kalah’, a film by Dóra Maurer, András Klausz and Zoltán Jeney, 1980. Installation view, ‘Sounding the Body Electric: Experiments in Art and Music in Eastern Europe, 1957-1984’, Curated by David Crowley and Daniel Muzyczuk, Calvert 22 Foundation. Photo: Steve White

Free

The 1950s and ’60s were a fertile period when boundaries between musical composition and art dissolved into the ether like never before or since. This show looks at the powerful sounds that erupted from the Eastern Bloc in the postwar years, a time of surveillance, propaganda and oppression. Be warned, though. This isn’t a show of sound art, it’s a show about it. The graphic scores on display are just paper, the video footage just documentation.

The best moment comes when you actually get to feel the sound overwhelm you a little. Dora Maurer's installation, ‘Kalah’ (1980), gets its own pitch-black room. It’s powefully disorientating, and hypnotic.

Which only goes to make the show frustrating. All this incredible experimentation, where composers were artists and sound was art, and all you get is some headphones and a bunch of graphic scores. As a history lesson, it’s fascinating. As an exhibition, it’s disappointing.

Eddy Frankel

Event phone: 020 7613 2141
Event website: http://www.calvert22.org

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Jason

Interesting, hypnotic, good atmosphere, staff very welcoming and helpful!