Gladstone Gallery is presenting the work of Puerto Rico-based artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla. The artists have been working together sine 1995 producing films, installations, performances, and sculpture. They expose the complicated dynamics of contemporary geo-political realities while engaging with history.
The exhibition, Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on Ode to Joy for a Prepared Piano, features an early 20th century Bechstein piano that Allora and Calzadilla have carved a hole in, rendering two full octaves inoperative. A performer stands in this void and must play the instrument both upside down and backwards while at times physically moving the piano along a path throughout the gallery. Hourly performances of the Fourth Movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, commonly known as Ode to Joy, by several pianists take place on Tuesdays through Saturdays. This musical composition has long symbolized human fraternity and universal brotherhood, and is today the official anthem of the European Union. The incomplete version of the ode (due to the hole) probes the relationships between composition and meaning, while tracking political and artistic sentiments.
Allora and Calzadilla have had several solo exhibitions around the world, including at the Whitechapel Art Gallery and Serpentine Gallery in London, and Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Stop, Repair, Prepare will remain at Gladstone Gallery until February 21st.