Hartmut Landauer
amaru, 2016

  • Chrome steel, sheet metal, aluminium, plastic, rubber
  • 220 x 62 x 175 cm
  • Acquired in 2017

The floating verticality of the object, with its elegant Art Nouveau turn toward the ground, is one of many conceivable readings of this work: Hartmut Landauer’s sculpture amaru can be exhibited in a variety of ways— standing, hanging or laid on the floor—and is reminiscent of vehicle, container, apparatus, machine, robot, trophy, chimera, insect. In pre-Columbian cosmovision, Amaru is a mediator between heaven, a real outer and a deep inner world, and the Earth Mother—and thus also between the elements air, water and earth. References to discarded everyday objects, destruction and material reinterpretation reflect Landauer’s interest in metamorphoses: His materials undergo stages of destruction, so to speak, and finally come into existence as transmuted beings emancipated from the original material. The base material of the artist’s picture-objects is record covers, which are cut up and collaged to form new structures and visual rhythms. For the ‘Sound’ exhibition of the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection, Landauer conceived a wall design using details from vinyl covers, and composed a piece of music for which the parts of the sculpture served as instruments and sound generators. Pressed on vinyl, these now allow visitors to hear the sounds and noises that the artist had already imagined as an invisible soundtrack in the construction of the abstract mythical creature amaru “I have built several instruments from reconstructed parts of the sculpture from which the composer and sound artist Daniel Kartmann was able to elicit overtones! We were surprised by the variety of sound materials—percussive elements, strings, archaic-looking wind instruments, etc.—all of which are in the sculpture. With a frequency meter, we even found some tones corresponding to already existing sounds: B7, an Ace, an E on the tube segments.” The result is four sound improvisations, pressed on a 12-inch record in orange vinyl with screen-printed cover, in an edition of one hundred copies. For Daniel Kartmann, sound research on the original sculpture was particularly important and enlightening. The measurements and proportions of the sculpture also influenced Kartmann’s Minimalist and Concrete Art concerns for the recording sessions. The source material and the resulting sounds were not distorted later, and no material used in the sculpture was excluded. The only permitted intervention was the use of a loop station. Thus, Kartmann was able to arrange the sounds in layers during his recorded live improvisations and to realize his basic compositional idea of the recurring loop. The hidden ‘music’ of the sculpture was created through a kind of endoscopic exploration of its inner life. The resulting sounds are ‘liberated’ sounds, universal sounds made audible by the freedom of the artistic idea. The four compositions combine psychedelic, symphonic and percussive vibrating natural sound reminiscent of jazz.

Renate Wiehager

Hartmut Landauer

* 1966 Gemmrigheim, D
Lives and works in Stuttgart, D

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