Materials, Sounds + the Black Mountain College
Black Mountain College Museum, Asheville North Carolina. June-August 2019.
“We must come down to earth from the clouds where we live in vagueness, and experience the most real thing there is: material.” Anni Albers, 1938
Materials are at the center of the most important issues of our time. Today our connec- tion to material is informed by ecological crises through an ongoing struggle with climate change, overpopulation, scarcity, and global politics. Early in the history of Black Mountain College, artist and teacher Anni Albers pointed to our fractured relationship with materials in the modern world, calling for us to regain “the adventure of being close to the stuff the world is made of…” This was to be achieved by going back to materials in their original state to gain access to their potential.
Sound itself is never material; rather, through the act of sounding things we come to learn about material itself. We all have a strong innate sense of how matter will sound, and when an object sounds different than we expect we learn something about the political, historical, and/or social nature of materials.
Sound had a contested history at Black Mountain College. Music, the art form most closely associated with sound, was the stage for conflict around tradition and experi- mentation. While the influential music, dance, and interdisciplinary performances held as part of the life of the college were not recorded, in Materials, Sounds + Black Mountain College the historic record will be sounded via incursions into the archive and through new works created by artists from Asheville, New York, and Australia.
Materials, Sounds + Black Mountain College brings together contemporary international artists who each create an experience that is focused on the making of sound through materials. The exhibition presents a series of installations that challenge the way we think about materiality in a cumulative sound experience. This work has a lineage rooted in the experimental practices developed by artists and students at Black Mountain College. New commissions are exhibited alongside works from the BMCM+AC perma- nent collection that demonstrate experimental and materials-based processes.
Curated by Caleb Kelly
Materials, Sounds + Black Mountain College is supported by Australian Council for the Arts, The Captain’s Bookshelf, and the Windgate Charitable Foundation.
Special thanks to Bree Pickering, Murray Art Museum Albury, UNSW Art & Design, Mikkel Hansen, Michael Hatch, and Susan Rhew Design.