past forward - 100 Years Kunstverein Baden
kozek hörlonski, 2016
In 2015 the Kunstverein Baden (KV), Baden´s longstanding art association, celebrates its 100th anniversary. The first exhibitions were organized in 1916, promptly following its founding in 1915.
The KV Baden can look back on a rich and eventful history and development, peppered with numerous gaps and upheavals since its founding year. Issue No. 4 a of a series of the city archives entitled "Badener
Zuckerln" describes a "Baden Secession" in 1932 which
consequently led to the first schism. 1938 brought about the end the Central Association of Visual Artists, which was replaced by the "Reich’s Lower Danube Chamber of Fine Arts". Exhibitions during this destructive time were few and far between until 1953 when the association resumed its activities. Since then, the KV has continuously served to provide
artistic enrichment to the city of Baden. Since 1995, the association has been operating from an architecturally compelling exhibition space: the gallery located at Beethovengasse 7 in the center of Baden.
At the former Beethoven residence ”Haus der Neunten“( "House of the Ninth") just a few short steps from the gallery, one finds a plaque commemorating "Ode to Joy" which was composed there: a symphony, an anthem, a choir, polyphony – and the brainchild for the
anniversary commemoration record for KV Baden was born, a concept of inclusive technology featuring active and supporting members. Interviews make the artists and supporters accessible to us, a recording of the many voices using a “cup phonograph” patterned after the Edison principle allows us to acoustically and aesthetically negotiate 100 years of the association’s activity. A cup often serves to unite us at the numerous openings in the art world; by registering sound it becomes individualized, disturbingly beautiful, as if from a bygone era. The transparent plastic cup transfigures into a black vinyl record where the grooves remain visible. Concept behooves material. past forward: we are not stuck in the old times, but remain poised in a delicate balance, remembering them, working with technological developments as a matter of course and allowing ourselves to be open to an increasingly uncertain future.
The A-side of this record comprises the complete collected audio material, from recordings with the cup phonograph to fragments from the digitally recorded interviews of active members in the Kunstverein Baden. Arranged according to their favorite colors, a sound collage is generated and makes audible a contemporary abstracted choral piece of the members. A children’s song at the end urges us to remain experimental and pays tribute to the early steps in the life of the association.
The B-side is dedicated to all past and present members. Their names are listed alphabetically on sheet music and one musical note is attributed to each letter using the simple ABC song, whose melody serves as the basis of Mozart’s 12 variations "Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman" KV 265 (300e). This "score" lays the groundwork for two compositions: a piece in which the memory of the score is hummed to the sound of birdsong, and a second in which the entire score is played backwards and forwards as if allowing all the members to circle continuously.
Thomas Hörl and Peter Kozek aka kozek hörlonski
Baden and Vienna, July 2016