LONDON.-Artangel presents Heiner Goebbels: Stifter’s Dinge, 15 – 27 April 2008. Inspired by an eclectic range of influences and sources, international composer and director, Heiner Goebbels’ fascination with literature, politics and anthropology informs richly textured visual compositions that integrate classical, pop, jazz and traditional indigenous music. These vivid, otherworldly settings have often showcased exceptional players - from the Ensemble Modern to the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
In Stifter’s Dinge there are no instrumentalists, and the work is entirely devoid of performers of any kind. Goebbels takes as his starting point the little known texts of an early 19th century Romantic writer, Adalbert Stifter around which he has choreographed a chain reaction of voices, music, images, light, water, mechanical objects and extreme weather. From rain and hail to mist and fog, a remarkable indoor landscape gradually awakens…
Five hanging pianos, their innards exposed, form a copse-like backdrop to the unfolding action. The pianos play themselves, advancing as an unlikely and threatening presence over steaming pools of water. Elsewhere in the landscape, the disembodied voices of Claude Levi-Strauss, William S Burroughs and Malcolm X resonate alongside Greek and Columbian singing. In an extraordinary sculptural installation that is part music box and part landscape painting, it is the objects that are the chief protagonists: objects at the mercy of underlying elemental forces.
For Stifter’s Dinge , Artangel occupies the massive cavernous interior of P3, a former construction hall where concrete was tested for the Westway flyover, now a hidden part of Westminster University’s School of Architecture.
Adalbert Stifter was an Austrian writer, poet and painter who lived in Vienna and Linz, earning his living from teaching and painting before becoming a writer. Stifter’s writing is characterised by his lush, vivid descriptions of landscape and the minutiae within them. His landscapes become subjects in which human interaction is simply a minor detail: objects in space.
Recent works by Heiner Goebbels in the UK include Songs of Wars I Have Seen (Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 2007), Eraritjaritjaka (Edinburgh International Festival, 2004) and Hashirigaki (Barbican 2002). With support from The Goethe Institut.