Promenades, Sunsets and Balconies (part 1)   [show/hide text]

collaboration with Dorothee Kreutzfeldt
Richmond, South Africa 2008

Collaborations can be likened to a complex and slow process of joining points, of mobilising common ground, a practice of relays. The starting point was a conversation in the streets of Richmond, a small town in the semi desert of the Western Cape, South Africa, which lies along a national road. We discovered that we had both played the piano when we were young and had given it up later – this was to set the tone and conceptual impulses for our collaboration over the next two years, in intervals travelling to very contrasting destinations.

Richmond is quickly walked and the specific South African characteristics are evident, primarily defined by racial segregation, distinctions of white town and ‘coloured’ townships, owners and labourers. In between kite flying children and small shops run by Chinese immigrants. We happened across a defunct piano in a school hall and became interested in stock taking tangible objects- tracing all the pianos we could find, which led us to three high and primary schools, the prison, a church, a town hall, a museum on horses, a restaurant by the petrol station and two houses. The majority of the 13 pianos were out of tune and not in use; two people could play. Each piano belonged to its place, each place part of the town’s structure, communities and history – offering a kind of portrait. We counted the missing keys which called up and silenced the surrounds of the piano’s, introducing an abstraction, a potential composition and an archive all at once.

Piano No 13. Performance (photos 5-7)

The act of carrying the piano into the half-built house, a communal act which on video resembles the carrying of a body: we felt the need to move the weight of the piano, perhaps against our own vulnerability and how slow time passed in this landscape. No-one asked why we were doing this, but if we would play. We were guardians instead, or movers, of a heavy, upright and out of tune instrument, in a small town.

Piano No 13 (B.Langmann, 14 missing keys), property of Richmond High, is carried to a half
built RDP house (national social housing development programme). The piano was returned to
the school after 3 hours.

(Text by Dorothee Kreutzfeldt)


Supported by the Embassy of Spain in South Africa, the Nirox Foundation, the Johannesburg Art Gallery, MAP, The Bagfactory Artists Studios, Sala Parpalló, Casa África and Centro de Arte La Regenta.





Piano No 13. Performance - Richmond 2008

Piano No 13. Performance - Richmond 2008

Piano No 13. Performance - Richmond 2008