Where: Museo di Arte Contemporanea di Villa Croce
Opening: May 29, 17.30 – 19.30
curated by Grazia Previati
Pheobe Duets Performance – 18.30
(Philip Corner and Phoebe Neville)
½ + ½: A Half plus a Half
Philip Corner (NY, 1933) returns to Villa Croce after 12 years: composer, pianist, musical theorist, performer, calligrapher and most of all, one of the artists who promoted the Fluxus movement in the international art scene.
The work presented by Corner at the Wiesbaden Festival in 1962, when the Fluxus movement officially began, was “Piano Activities”, a performance during which an old piano that was no longer viable as an instrument was destroyed with the help of other artists and the public using hammers, saws and screwdrivers; the sounds made my the demolition became part of a new work of art, a new “manifestation of music”. After the performance, the artist re-assembled the broken parts of the piano to create a visual and sound sculpture.
In the exhibit “The Fluxus Constellation”, 2002, curated by Sandra Solimano at the Museum of Villa Croce to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Fluxus, Philip Corner presented a re-edition of “Piano Activities”. The old vertical piano used in the performance and featured in the video that documented it was purchased by the Villa Croce Amixi Association and is now part of its permanent collection. The More Than Music exhibition takes its cue from “Piano Activities” and from two other of the artist’s works in the museum’s collection, to offer, together with other pieces from the late 1950s, an intimate journey into the work of this great artist. As a traditionally-formed composer and musician, Philip Corner’s journey was greatly influenced by two famous musicians, John Cage and Olivier Messiaen, who paved the way towards total sound and the juxtaposition of extreme elements. In the late 1950s, his scores became graphic images; a trip to Korea as a draftee introduced him to oriental calligraphy, giving him the opportunity to abandon the western-style of writing music for good. Musical symbols became pure form, giving life to independent works of art. Music is always implied in the suggestion made by the relationship between space and time, even when the drawings are not scores for a performance, creating a poetic coherence between visual works and performance art.
Many of the works on show were created thanks to the collaboration of visionary editors and collectors such as Francesco Conz, Rosanna Chiesi, Caterina Gualco and Carlo Cattelani. Since the performances are strictly connected with the visual art, the contribution made by Philip’s wife, dancer Phoebe Neville, has been, and still is, essential.