The Forty Part Motet is one of the major works which will feature in an upcoming exhibition at York Art Gallery, co-curated by the band Kaiser Chiefs.

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Janet Cardiff’s The Forty Part Motet to Feature in New Exhibition at York Art Gallery

23 October 2018

The sound of a 40 part choir singing in harmony through 40 individual speakers is one of the major works which will feature in an upcoming exhibition at York Art Gallery this winter, co-curated by the band Kaiser Chiefs.

Janet Cardiff’s evocative “The Forty Part Motet” allows people to walk through an oval of speakers to hear a reworking of Thomas Tallis’ ‘Spem in Alium Nunquam Habui’, from the singers’ point of view.

The band selected the sound installation because of its relevance to how they hear their own music while performing ‘an all-encompassing space of sound’.

The Forty Part Motet is one of several loans showcased in this unique exhibition which explores the boundaries between art and music, creation and performance.

Other highlights include:

• The short film ‘Fiorucci Made me Hardcore’ by Mark Leckey, which The Guardian called “…perhaps the finest portrayal of British nightlife ever captured.”
• The Turner Prize winning work ‘The Woolworth’s Choir of 1979’ by Elizabeth Price.
• Archive material from the collections of pioneering composer Pauline Oliveros, who coined the phrase “deep listening”.
• Daytrip Maryanne, a collaboration between sound sculptor MaryAnne Amacher and guitarist Thruston Moore of Sonic Youth.

The show will also feature works drawn from York Art Gallery’s own collection by artists such as Bridget Riley, Jack Butler Yeats, L.S. Lowry and John Hoyland paired with songs selected from a “set list” by the band.

An installation entitled ‘Silent Gig’ will use light, colour, and lyrics to create an immersive environment that offers visitors a reconfigured experience of a live music show and its elements.

Kaiser Chiefs hope that by using their position as pop musicians as a starting point, visitors will join them in exploring the edges between music, art, creation and performance.

Kaiser Chiefs said: “We were really excited to work with the Gallery to put together this show in God’s Own Country.

“The team at York Art Gallery have helped us to pull together a selection of amazing works that represent to us what sound can be and do in both art and music and the space in between.

“They have brought to life our ideas exploring how creative processes can be defined in different ways. See you all in December.”

Dr Beatrice Bertram, Senior Curator at York Art Gallery said: “Janet Cardiff’s work is an extremely moving experience that immerses the listener in the beauty of this incredible piece of music.

“You can feel the hairs on your neck rise as you move from speaker to speaker, pausing to enjoy the individual voices which combine in beautiful harmonies.

“We are delighted Kaiser Chiefs have chosen to bring the work to York, together with the list of other significant loans by sound artists which they feel a connection with. These will complement our own paintings and the songs the band have paired with them, giving visitors a unique perspective on the connection between art and music from the Kaiser Chiefs’ point of view.”

It will be supported by a programme of events, workshops and performances as well as working with an artist in residence to explore the creative process of making music. The full programme will be announced closer to the exhibition opening.

The exhibition is included in the admission price of York Art Gallery. For more information, visit When All is Quiet – Kaiser Chiefs in Conversation with York Art Gallery.

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