2020 WA Now | Art Gallery of Western Australia | curated by Dunja Rmandic | Photo by Jessica Wyld Photography; the Artist
Exhale (2020) | acrylic, aluminium and LED | 510 x 40 x 40cm
Sacred Treble (2020) | 216 triangular tiles (6 x stacks) | 6 x 6’ audio compositions | Sound Editor: Ned Beckley
Exhale 1-6 (2020) | scraper boards x 6 | dimensions variable
Tonal Steps (2020) in collaboration with Paul Lawrence | Choir place performance (3 x movements 20’) | Participants: Andy Williams, Anna Macoboy, Annette Mullumby, Bobby Wilson, Brendan Humphries, Cara Teusner-Gartland, Cherry Meaney, Daniel Martin, Eva Hinsman, Fiona McVey, Gaye McPhie, Heidi Halter, Jamie Mc William, Jen Byrne, Jess Colgan-Toohey, Kate Kelly, Koral Island-Ward, Lekkie Hopkins, Lizzie Murray, Maggie Armstrong, Margaret Vinciguerra, Mark Rowntree, Nicole Lawrence, Paul Lawrence, Paula Harris, Sharon McCann, Tej Bhagti Kaur, Tim Pollitt, Xave Brown, Zoe Brennan, Lucy Ridsedale.
Buildings are urban monoliths. Cultural institutions are perceived to be even more so. Tom Mùller’s WA Now exhibition Monolith Scores delves into what this perceived monolith sounds like, feels like, breathes like. Conceived around the hexagonal shape, the Gallery building internally is defined by open vistas and vertical columns, and breathes in its own rhythm. By listening to the building, Mùller has created a series of works that include a replica of the central column in the exhibiting space made in pulsating light that breathes six breaths per minute. Known to calm the body and the mind, the six breaths technique is used in Buddhist, yogic and Christian practices: seeing the light and its tempo, experiencing the building’s breath, we as spectators can see this monolith in a different way.
Original 1979 stone cement tiles from the Gallery rooftop become a sculptural element in the space, like an archaeological find in the future, and are accompanied by sound works created by Mùller while he ‘played’ the building, scraping, tapping, sounding out the surfaces which form this monolith. We, the audience, also play the building by being in it, talking, walking, being still, thinking: we are its dynamic, give it rhythm, just as it forms ours. A choir of 31 will perform an ode to the building in 3 movements on the opening night: the first will be to the horizontal plane and the iconic central staircase, the second to the vertical hexagonal columns and the last to the light breaths in the exhibition itself.
Sound and light combine in this exhibition to envelop us and guide us to a way of seeing and experiencing our monolith as a living, breathing structure, simultaneously grand and porous.