By Candy Pilar Godoy, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Fresh off of its run in São Paulo, the work of American multimedia artist Laurie Anderson is on display in a retrospective exhibition entitled “I in U/Eu em Tu” at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (Bank of Brazil Cultural Center, CCBB) here in Rio.
Curator Marcello Dantas incorporates an eclectic mix of Anderson’s work in the exhibit, comprised of 31 works including photographs, video, sound recordings, two and three dimensional installations and footage of past performances spanning a period of over forty years.
Anderson herself was on hand for the opening, performing the piece “Duets on Ice” followed by a lecture for the general public. Originally presented in New York City in the seventies, “Duets on Ice” features the artist playing the violin accompanied by an original recording while wearing ice skates frozen into a block of ice. The performance reaches its end when all of the ice has melted.
Although primarily known as a multimedia artist, Anderson has assumed a diverse range of roles throughout her career. Born in Illinois in 1947, she studied Art History and obtained an MFA in Sculpture from Columbia University. She dabbled in various professions, working as an art instructor, art critic, and book illustrator before launching into performance art in the late sixties.
In the seventies Anderson began recording original compositions that included vocals and musical numbers. She reached #2 on the British pop charts with the single “O Superman” and began to record and compose film soundtracks, theater productions, and dance concerts. Her groundbreaking work in the world of experimental sound led to the invention of three musical instruments – the tape bow violin, the walking stick, and voice filters, all widely used in her own pieces.
Her widespread success and recognition has allowed her to travel throughout the U.S. and Europe showcasing visual art, touring with a band and presenting performance art. She has contributed to a selection of publications, including Encyclopedia Brittanica, and starred in and directed the concert film Home of the Brave.
In 2002 Anderson was appointed the first and only ever artist-in-residence for NASA and in 2007 was awarded the Gish Prize for “outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to humankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.” She has thus far released seven studio albums, three live albums and authored six books.
I in U/Eu em Tu marks Anderson’s first ever solo exhibition here in Brazil. “It’s a show about stories,” she stated, “you see stories inside violins…you see stories written, you see stories in music…it’s stories…that’s what I love.”
Anderson’s stories are poetically unraveled throughout the CCBB, showcasing her multifaceted body of work. She embraces an array of different mediums, with some at times spilling into others. “It’s the curse of being a multimedia artist,” said Anderson, “you know you work with so many things it gets a little confusing sometimes.”
What makes the exhibition particularly unique are the various pieces containing interactive components and requiring audience participation. In The Handphone Table sound is compressed and amplified through a table. Participants must lay their elbows at selected points on the table and cover their ears to hear music, as the sound travels up through their bodies and into their ears. The arms of listeners replace wires and act as their own individual headphones.
Place: Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB), Rua Primeiro de Março, 66 – Centro
Date: March 29th through June 26th.
Time: Tuesday through Sunday, from 9AM to 9PM.