De-Learning to Play the Piano


On-going performance initiated by Work & Leisure International, (Birmingham UK) 1999, with a second version in 2010/2012 and a third one to take place in Sète (FR) during summer 2022 with a grant from La Fondation des Artistes.


In 'The Sight of Sound, Music, representation, and the history of the body', 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. Following on his footsepts I collected a thousand images of women at their piano in painting and contemporary visual culture. (see pdf or on issuu)
Instead of burning and/or hammer my piano (as it has been well done before), I decided to sit in the paintings and in front of the instrument to try and question and de-learn what I had been tought about music: which one to play, how, when and in front of whom.

For example de-learning that one should be the docile (and gifted) performer of what masters have written, sometimes when they were as young as 5... Playing without mistakes, at the right tempo and with the perfect amount of the right feelings from the soul to the keyboard... At home, for the entertaiment of ones husband and his friends, for the family, for ones daughters... and not until the beginning of the 20th century, in front of non domestic audience.

Playing a score written by a genius following the rules of classical composition, tonality and the building of tensions and their resolution... within a given time frame such as the music piece, the song, the recital, the recording habits, live in a noisy jazz club or in the silent studio, the relatshiop to the audience and how they sit ad dress... If these are not gendered practices they remain highy regulated (and regulating social practives beyond music) and the belong to what I tried to de-learn.

I only play a music that is mine, which is not whihout influences but which does not follow the pop, neo-classical or jazz rules and traditions.


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.
Catalogue text by Josephine Pryde.

Below: In the studio (London) and the final recital at international3 Manchester, 1999

Below: In the group show 'Ne travaillez jamais' curated by Meta-Studio, Munich, 1999
audeoud delearning the piano


Performance #2  (Paris / Barcelona 2010/2012) 

A year performance with a baby grand piano (tuned and prepared) in the artist studio in Paris, and a midi piano, made possible by a grant from the Mairie de Paris.
Album with 5 cds for for part 1 on deezer and 1 for part 2 and most music downloading platforms.


Below: Extracts of videos published during the performance. 

Below: Installation of the documentation of the performances #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 performances on deezer and most music dowloading platforms)



Below: Extracts of the live performances



Inclusions in other shows:

In 'Praying for North Korea in Cork', solo show,  Mariah Black at Triksel Art Centre, Cork (IE) 2014.
Album on Apple music, on Deezer


Below: In ‘Natura Lapsa, group show curated by Yann Chevallier and Laurent le Deunff, le Confort Moderne, Poitiers (FR) 2014
Below: In the art fair rt-O-Rama, with le Confort Moderne and Petunia, Marseille, 2012
Below: In 'Hit & Run', group show curated by Stéphane Bérard, Galerie Eva Meyer, Paris, 2011

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