De-Learning to Play the Piano

On-going performance initiated by Work & Leisure International, Birmingham 1999



-After reading 'The Sight of Sound, Music, representation, and the history of the body', in which Richard Leppert develops how music operates as a marker of power in the history of painting and discusses how the representation of women at their piano illustrates the prevailing inherent social, cultural and political discourses, I started collecting a thousand images of women at their piano (see pdf).
Instead of burning and/or hammer my piano (as it has been done - and well done before), I decided to sit in the paintings and in front of the instrument to try to question what I, like many women in a bourgeois context-had been taught about music and their access to making it, thinking it.
- Interpreting what male geniuses had written for them/us, sometimes only when 5-year old...
- Doint it well, no mistake(s), right tempo and lots of feelings...
- Until the beginning of the 20th, women were taught to play only to entertain their husband and his friends, and to teach their daughters... They were not allowed to play outside the house.
- Their music was of classical structures and strict tonality, building tensions before resolving them...
- Rules and/or habits that are not gendered but I though I might as well question too... such as given time frames (the recording, the album, the CD set...), concert settings, (very quiet and stressfull recitals,full audience and empty ones, rehearsong, practising, or just playing...), how to record and document (scores, live transmission, cds, videos...)

As I played and quicky got tired of my mistakes and bad playing, I developped a technique. One that is personal, not quite unique, but certainly not a classical one.
I play a (my own) music.


Performance #1 (London/Birmingham/Manchester/Munich 1999)
A 4-month performance documented by 140 hours of audio and video recording, originally recorded on SVHS and audio tapes and transferred to DVDs and CDs, and extracts online.catalogue text by Josephine Pryde. In the studio (London) and for the final recital (extracts on video below), international3 Manchester, 1999
In the group show 'Ne travaillez jamais' curated by Meta-Studio, Munich, 1999


Performance #2  (Paris/Barcelona, with a grant from Mairie de Paris) 

Albums with extracts of the performance on Deezer (5cds) and most music dowloading platforms

below: extracts of videos published during the performance 

Below: Installation of the documentation of perf#1 and #2 and live performances in 'This Is Not An Art Show, Even' curated by David G Torres, Centre d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (ES) 2012


(Album of the live performancesin Barcelona on deezer and most music dowloading platforms)

Below, extracts of performances in 'This Is Not An Art Show, Even'



Inclusions in other shows:

In 'Praying for North Korea in Cork', solo show,  Mariah Black, Cork (IE) 2014

(album on Apple music, on Deezer)

In ‘Natura Lapsa , roup show curated by Yann Chevallier and Laurent le Deunff, le Confort Moderne, Poitiers (FR) 2014
In Art-O-Rama, with le Confort Moderne and Petunia, Marseille, 2012
In 'Hit & Run' group show, curated by Stéphane Bérard, Galerie Eva Meyer, Paris
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