We are Sitting in Different Rooms
(a sketch)

In 1969, Alvin Lucier performed his piece I am Sitting in a Room for the first time. The American composer reads aloud a few sentences, records them on tape, plays the tape, records it, plays the recording, records it again and again. What, in the beginning, is understandable speech becomes an eerie wave of tones resonating in relation to a space (the room). A rather meditative piece, the recited text simply describes the process in action and slowly turns into an abstraction. At the same time highly conceptual but truly moving and beautiful, the artwork leaves in tatters the traditional definitions of words like recording, instrument, notation, space or performance.

Lucier knew that the recording of his piece would be listened to in a different place than the one he was performing in and started his speech with the sentence: ‘I am sitting in a Room different from the one you are in now…’ In our times of self-isolation and social distancing, this whole composition gets a brand-new meaning. We listen to music, we look at artworks, we share words, but we aren’t sitting together anymore to do so. And the messages or acts of communication between us sound — sometimes — distorted and abstract.

The five artists featured at the exhibition have been chosen for their interaction with space, time and architecture while playing with figuration and abstraction.

The five artists have, for this exhibition, received the track from Alvin Lucier and created artworks as a homage to his mise en abyme, but also to our separated rooms and to the virtual existence of the empty White Cube of the Gallery Barbara Thumm.

Curated by Thibaut de Ruyter
Barbara Breitenfellner, Farhad Farzaliyev, Heike Gallmeier, Katya Isaeva and Marie Rief