Bernhard Gal

Bernhard Gal is an Austrian artist/composer who has tested on the relationship between sound and space in many of his works. Exhibiting since 1998, Gal’s portfolio consists of a range of musical compositions for instruments, soundscapes, sound and light installations, performance, and inter-media art as well as electro-acoustic compositions.  For the series of works Defragmentation’s, 2000, Gal collaborates with Japanese architect/artist Yumi Kori to create light and sound installations that explore the properties and possibilities of spaces both within and out with the traditional gallery format. Together they achieve stunning articulation of ideas using coloured light and sound textures to distort the audiences’ experience of the spaces they inhabit, and aim for “a more holistic perception of the space,” one that is not based on a predetermined conception on the characteristics of that location.

The Organism of Art Practice

I’ve been looking at the patterns within my work recently, at rhythms within the themes and purposes, and I have come to see one recurring desire that I have input but never taken full notice of. The desire to create a living space. Work where all the elements, be them sculptural, video, audio or performed (including the involvement of the audience) are, for me, genomes within the molecular structure of the work. Each piece consists of a series of patterns, like a DNA sequence, a system that is somewhat self-organized by the experience of the work itself, or in genetic terms ‘external stimuli.’ I try to use bodies as the separate nucleotide within the DNA molecule, each standing as it’s own complex system whilst becoming a singular part of a greater complexity as well, each consciousness a trigger in the greater complexity of the work, much as each nucleotide is a trigger for the greater structure of the DNA molecule. To simplify I want my work to be alive, or at least have the essence of life.

But how does one create the billions of years of evolution that gave birth to the cell within the constraints of art? My approach has always been to use the senses as the structure of the cell, as if, say, the sculptural element (touch/spacial awareness) is the cell wall, the video (sight) the nucleus and the sound (audible) as the enzymes, and to see what happens when one or more of these parts is limited, distorted or turned of all together, much as scientists do literally. With this in mind my latest work in progress will try to capture these notions and processes, and will be created to work with the patterns and structures formed by the different senses, to mutate and evolve to suit its environment.

Art for me is life, a coherent and conscious entity formed from the thoughts and actions of creative man.

Delusions of Direction

I have come to a point in my practice, and life, where I’m questioning the point in my contempory practice ‘what is the goal?’, ‘is this really what I want to do with my life?’, etcetera ecetera. It comes after an unexpected resit of the last semester of year 3 on my course over summer in which I had many hours to discuss internally about where I felt my desires and creativity really fell, in art or in music?

Now at the beginning of 4th year, ‘the big one’, I am still unsure as to where I am seriously going with my practice, and in some ways don’t know if I’ll ever be sure. How can any creative person be sure of their goal when creativity is such a subjective and wholly temporal state? Writers have ‘writers block’, as artists have a form of ‘creative block’, and I assume all creative people fall prey to this lack of inspiration. I find the difference for me is my personal block comes willingly… well not willingly, but because of my own decisions to question the nature of my practice.

After a lengthy talk with one of my tutors, who in many ways is in the same situation (for lack of a better word) as me in that they are both a working art practitioner and a working musician, I still have no idea where to go, only that the possibility of a merging, a synthesis of my interests and skills, is both inspiring and intrinsic to finding my direction, or just a direction for my practice.