Within the ancestral surroundings of Steinway & Sons’ piano showroom, workshop and studios an atmospheric and wholly unfamiliar experience lay in wait for a lucky half-a-dozen at a time.
In a darkened room, a pair of hands are illuminated as they rest over a piano keyboard, ready to fill the space with the sounds of Ligeti’s Étude, ‘Pour Irina’. Six grand pianos surround this individual, each with their own artiste ready to embark on an intimate psycho-acoustic journey as unseen hands guide their own.
Created by artists Christer Lundahl, Martina Seitl and experimental pianist Cassie Yukawa, in conjunction with Montblanc Cultural Foundation, NOMAD and the Arts Council, this curious work immerses the viewer in a synaesthetic story, exploring memory, perception and timelessness.
Bringing together the works of Bach and Ligeti who lived nearly three-hundred years apart, this installation for iconic piano-makers Steinway & Sons turns the viewer into the protagonist – much like the journalist W.T. Stead, who foretold his own death on the Titanic. Writing as a young man, British-born Stead detailed his dramatic demise on a transatlantic liner which shipwrecked without enough lifeboats; twenty-seven years later his story came true as he boarded the ‘unsinkable’ ship.
Perusing the structure of sound, feeling, movement and space, Lundahl&Seitl and Cassie Yukawa’s ‘The Memory of W.T. Stead’ expands on their 2009 collaboration ‘Symphony of a Missing Room’ which placed visitors on a bizarre museum tour, guiding them through the history of art and both imaginary and actual architecture in the museum. Renowned for transforming their viewers into the content of their installations, Lundahl&Seitl’s alliance with Yukawa who has explored visual art, fashion, yoga, science and choreography through her projects once again push the boundaries of perception, which of course NOMAD was happy to support.
‘The Memory of W.T. Stead’ runs from 25th March – 6th April 2013 at Steinway Hall, 44 Marylebone Lane. For more information visit www.nomad.org.uk
Words / Roxanne Golding
Follow her on Twitter @RoxanneGolding