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Home » AO On Site – Berlin: Haroon Mirza ‘–{}{}{} {}–{}{}{}{}–{}’ at Ernst Schering Stiftung through July 21,2012

AO On Site – Berlin: Haroon Mirza ‘–{}{}{} {}–{}{}{}{}–{}’ at Ernst Schering Stiftung through July 21,2012

June 27th, 2012


Haroon Mirza, Acid Reign (2012). LED tape, LED driver, speakers, Aspirin, cables, digital video on CRT monitor, copper tape. Image courtesy and copyright of the Schering Stiftung

British artist Haroon Mirza debuts –{}{}{} {}–{}{}{}{}–{}, his first solo exhibition in Germany at the Ernst Schering Stiftung as it celebrates its 10 year anniversary.  The Schering Stiftung is a foundation that supports and promotes projects that engage both contemporary art and science.  The exhibition’s title, –{}{}{} {}–{}{}{}{}–{} is a typographical interpretation of a wave form, translating sound and light into a symbolic representation. It is also the reference for Acid Reign, the new site-specific work for the Schering Stiftung gallery. Works that simultaneaously activate seeing and hearing – with the hope of creating a synesthesia between the two – has been an ideological quest for Mirza for quite some time now.  As the press release states, “[for] Mirza it is decisive ‘to understand visual and acoustic space as one sensorial mode of perception’ (Mirza, 2010).

For the artist, his site specific Acid Reign installation ‘occupies’ the gallery space, a nod to the Occupy movement and most likely the political nature of the current Berlin Biennial. One way in which the artist is ‘occupying’ the gallery is by utilizing spaces usually reserved to mask unsightly cords and cables, known as shadow gaps. Attention is instead drawn to these spaces through brightly colored LED strip lights that flash on and off, triggering acoustic signals that form the main structure of the piece’s sound composition.


Haroon Mirza, Acid Reign (2012). LED tape, LED driver, speakers, Aspirin, cables, digital video on CRT monitor, copper tape. Image courtesy and copyright of the Schering Stiftung


Haroon Mirza, Acid Reign (2012). Photo by Jaime Schwartz

Another experiential element originates from a video monitor with a woman’s face in close-up reading aloud to an accompanying strobe light.  The rhythm of the strobe and text combine in a harmonizing tempo that allows the text to be perceived as lyrics to a song. Also generating sound through electro-magnetic waves is a copper strip attached to the screen and activated by changes in light. The text, taken from the Wikipedia entry about the Bayer company from April 26th 2012, seems at first to be random but actually has a strong connection to the space. The Bayer company, one of Germany’s largest firms and most famous for the creation of Aspirin (which feature elsewhere in the installation), happens to own the building in which the gallery is located. Having the text entangled with the other sound elements of the installation is also part of Mirza’s ongoing experimentation with spillage, typically a problem in many contemporary group shows – where several multimedia works might be shown in close proximity.


Haroon Mirza, Acid Reign (2012). Photo by Jaime Schwartz


Haroon Mirza, Acid Reign (2012). LED tape, LED driver, speakers, Aspirin, cables, digital video on CRT monitor, copper tape. Image courtesy and copyright of the Schering Stiftung.


Haroon Mirza, Acid Reign (2012). LED tape, LED driver, speakers, Aspirin, cables, digital video on CRT monitor, copper tape. Image courtesy and copyright of the Schering Stiftung.


detail, image courtesy and copyright of the Schering Stiftung.

The nature of using Wikipedia and Aspirin in the installation, and even the architecture of the gallery itself can be seen as part of Mirza’s interest in using ‘found’ materials in his work. However, much like Duchamp’s ‘reverse-ready mades’, Mirza likes to shift and dislocate the context of these found objects, and ultimately turn them into sound.


Haroon Mirza, Acid Reign (2012). LED tape, LED driver, speakers, Aspirin, cables, digital video on CRT monitor, copper tape. Image courtesy and copyright of the Schering Stiftung.

Mirza, by combing and layering many elements into the work also leaves its title open to various interpretations.  Acid Reign might well reference Acid House, a type of techno music popular in Germany; or LSD, the street-drug commonly known as ‘Acid’. The ever-changing, brightly colored lights and hypnotic sound composition certainly inspire an unusual feeling.


image courtesy and copyright of Schering Stiftung


Haroon Mirza, Acid Reign (2012). Photo by Jaime Schwartz


Haroon Mirza, Acid Reign (2012). Photo by Jaime Schwartz

Haroon Mirza was born in 1977 and lives and works in Sheffield and London. He has been awarded the Northern Art Prize (2010) and the Venice Biennale’s Silver Lion (2011) for a promising young artist. The publication, Haroon Mirza – –{}{}{}, edited by Heike Catherina Mertens and Franziska Solte and supported by Lisson Gallery, will appear in the Ernst Schering Foundation’s publication series with argobooks in July, with contributions by Diedrich Diederichsen, Heike Catherina Mertens and Franziska Solte. It will include works from the exhibitions,  /\/\/\/\ /\/\ (St. Gallen), \|\|\|\| \|\|\ (Michigan) and –{}{}{} {}–{}{}{}{}–{} (Berlin).

—J. Schwartz

Related Links:

Exhibition Site: [ Ernst Schering Stiftung]

Video: Haroon Mirza in der Schering Stiftung [art-in-berlin.de]

 

 

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