Apparat, mit dem eine Kartoffel eine andere umkreisen kann – Museum Abteiberg

(Experiment of an electro-acoustic composition in commemoration of Sigmar Polke)

by Jan St. Werner and Damo Suzuki

APRIL 23 rd – JULY 5th 2015


The singer Damo Suzuki, originally from Japan, was the singer of the band CAN from 1970 to 1973. He developed the improvised singing in psychedelic music, disappeared for ten years and began his own solo and network projects from 1983. Suzuki lives and works in Cologne until today. Together with Andi Toma, Jan St. Werner is the initiator of the band Band Mouse on Mars which was formed in 1993, then discovering a new connection to the avantgarde of the 1970ies and being one of the most important bands in electronic music ever since. Werner now lives and works in Berlin and operates in the most diverse musical collaborations (see Mouse on Mars: 21 again (2014)).

Beginning with Sigmar Polke’s 16mm films shown for the first time in the 1980ies, Museum Abteiberg presents in its halls an electro-acoustic concert consisting of several parts which combines Sigmar Polke’s sampled visual aesthetics, which have often been described as alchemy, with a contemporary acoustic counterpart. Damo Suzuki and Jan St. Werner present an electroacoustic composition which draws its procedures from the Krautrock and diverse form of improvisation in the 1970ies, using a range of sound materials, speech and noise, thereby presenting Polke’s process of cross-fading and multiple exposure as an acoustic procedure. Suzuki and Werner – which have never worked together before – practice an acoustic reflection which both moves within the system and makes an observation from outside at the same time. Experimenting with different materials and perspectives, this approach presents an interdisciplinary parallel to Polke: All material becomes a big picture, everything joins an alchemist mixture. Jan St. Werner: “There is no centre in this composition, the elements must be newly brought together again and again. What was just perceived and has faded is redrawn from memory and compared to the new. The image and after-image form a collage in the head as the actual composition.”

The acoustic-visual installation will subsequently be shown in parallel with the exhibition “SIGMAR POLKE Approaching Venice – Movies and Materials of the 1986 Biennale” at Museum Abteiberg until 5 July.

An edition of 6 vinyl records with hand made sleeves by Suzuki & Werner were sold on the occasion
Städtisches Museum Abteiberg
Abteistr. 27
41061 Mönchengladbach
Tel.: 02161-252636
Fax: 02161-252659
foto credits & museum contact: Uwe Riedel