PLUNK, BOUM, KRASH, ZZZT
Curated by Jo Melvin
28 September - 23 November
PV. 27 September, 6-8pm
Piezoelectric panel, 2017. Piezoelectric elements, cement panel and soundtrack. 62x62cm
In this exhibition Sean Dower presents new, recent and older work installed in response to the spaces of Laure Genillard’s Gallery. Dower’s exploratory practice is grounded in a sculptural investigation of our three dimensional experience of the world, where sound, light, film, performance, language and duration are as much a part of the vocabulary as objects or artefacts. The intangible or invisible also play a role and reminds us that the word ‘volume’ not only relates to mass and space but to sound and changes in air pressure. Dower’s work often draws attention to the interconnections between sound and sculpture. Traditional materials such as iron, quartz, copper and stone have electromagnetic properties and it is perhaps surprising to realise that these materials also mediate and mould the everyday sounds we hear.
In the upstairs gallery space minimalist looking sculptures complement each other with their unexpected use of sound. “Vibrating rod” suspended from the ceiling exists beyond audibility in the realm of the haptic and complements the mysterious sounds emanating from “Piezoelectric Panel”, a grid of 100 ultrasonic disks, set in a concrete panel. In piezoelectric cells a thin slice of quartz attached to a brass disk vibrates when electric current is applied and the brass disk flexes to produce sound. Likewise, a physical force applied to the quartz produces a corresponding electric current. High up on another wall, a laser pointer shines a thin beam of green light across the room, which becomes visible as it strikes a small mirror mounted on a speaker, which in turn redirects the beam around a corner. The varying sound pressure of the speaker causes the mirror to vibrate and project an oscillating pattern of light onto a monochrome photograph of a Neolithic standing stone. The stone is primarily made of quartz, a detail that could easily be overlooked.
In dialogue with these works, a six-panel text work "Noises" ("Bruits") presents a sequence of onomatopoeic French words that reference technology and suggest a violent but cartoon-style narrative. The ensemble suggests liminal modes of communication a
A characteristic playfulness of Dower’s approach is the way he pays direct and indirect homage to other artists’ work and he treats the exchange as one might when holding a conversation, with its potential for interpretation, transformation and misunderstanding.