Jennifer Allora, Guillermo Calzadilla Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on Ode to Joy for a Prepared Piano, No.1 2008

  • Not on view

In Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on "Ode to Joy" for a Prepared Piano (2008), Jennifer Allora (American, born 1974) and Guillermo Calzadilla (Cuban, born 1971) combine the mediums of performance art and sculpture. A pianist emerges through a hole carved in a grand piano to play the fourth movement of Ludwig von Beethovens famous Ninth Symphony of 1824 (widely known as "Ode to Joy") while walking around the Atrium. By modifying the instrument, the artists have fundamentally changed the dynamic between pianist and instrument; leaning very far forward, the performer must read the keyboard upside down and backward. Furthermore, the hole renders two octaves of keys inoperative. The result is a structurally incomplete version of the signature melody, played with great efforta contradictory and ambiguous performance of a song that has long been invoked as a symbol of humanist values and national pride.

Gallery label from Performance 9: Allora & Calzadilla, December 8, 2010–January 10, 2011 .
Prepared Bechstein piano, performance (25 min.)
Piano: 40 x 67 x 84" (101.6 x 170.2 x 213.4 cm) Duration: 25 min.
Gift of the Julia Stoschek Foundation, Düsseldorf
Object number
© 2019 Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla
Media and Performance

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