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Brigitte Kowanz’ Beyond Recall is a light installation on the State Bridge in Salzburg. The bridge itself is an intriguing piece of work but it is self-contradictory; a bridge is stationary, yet it is never still – so it is in constant motion. The context of the bridge’s location is rich and yields many interpretations. It stands before the old centre of Baroque Salzburg; a wealth of history and nature, adornment and splendour, progressivity and conservatism are all simultaneously present. The bridge was built in historically difficult times: by forced labourers during World War II, a fact overshadowing the splendour.
Visual and acoustical (i.e. musical) art forms transmute among one another only with difficulty, since important structural elements of the one artistic language play an entirely different (and often smaller) role in the other – and time is one of the most important elements to blame for his separation. Time plays a very important part in music; in art, it is also a factor, but mostly a passive one, and there are other aspects which cannot be conveyed from one to another in a “linear” fashion. Thus, the many attempts to “translate” something visual into something musical (and vice-versa) can only be considered as free, subjective interpretations at best, since there are no objective, directly interchangeable criteria.
Yet it would not be interesting to translate a work of art directly into another artistic language; that is better left up to machines rather than artists. On the contrary, I am concerned with the issue of deliberate interpretation, since that is how Brigitte Kowanz’ artwork interprets the State Bridge and its historical context, albeit in a modern way.
What interests me? The bridge: immovability in motion. The bridge and the city are chic, lustrous, yet a historical shadow hangs over them – and that shade seems to reduce amenability with that sophistication.
Brigitte Kowanz’ light installation contrasts with the bridge. Reflections play an important role; thus reflection, permutation and repetition are structural building blocks in my piece: one which shines, but the lustre is turbid. It is a kind of music in constant motion, always striving forwards but remaining within an ambit. The theme here is illusion.
Translation: Grant Chorley, 2013