Ghost notes are subtle strokes that drummers use in order to lend a piece of music more groove. Albert Mayr’s exhibition, in which collage plays a central role, transfers the search for such subtle sounds into the two-dimensional and raises the question: what does a peanut sound like?
Mayr’s installations, performances, works on paper and Objets Trouvés are often concerned with the quality of sound of everyday objects or with the production of random, arrhythmical, organic sounds. For example, for his piece entitled „Tropfenstudien“ (2014) he runs water through an infusion line onto foil or sheets of metal and from there onto yoghurt pots or plastic lids. Depending upon the setting of the infusion regulator, either fast or slower syncopated overlapping rhythms are produced.
The collages presented in this exhibition translate the principle of such successively connected sounds into the visual: everyday objects and found pieces are scanned in, printed out, affixed and connected with fine lines drawn in pencil. The resulting schema resembles a circuit diagram, or similarly one can imagine them as operating instructions for a roadie in a rock band whose job it is to correctly set up the guitarists effect unit so that it connects sequentially. Instead of distortion or looping, it is nails, matches, peanuts and feathers that are being „hooked-up“ so to speak and whatever sounds these objects may produce is then left up to the fantasy of the the viewer. However, following the rules of sound engineering, we can be sure that feedback is produced by the various circuits of these elements. They are arranged like beetles or fruits in a biology book, or like the meals in Mayr’s earlier work „Omegas Papadopoulos Food Ezyklopedia“, another example of how these sounds can be envisioned as something organic.
A further collage made up of Drumsticks from a Viennese orchestra for contemporary classical music Klangforum is also arranged in the style of a taxonomic system and draws a connection between his works on paper and a video installation entitled „In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida“. This piece is a re-staging of a performance in which drums and cymbals are played in an endless loop by the steady drops of a lawn sprinkler, it is a skilful reference to a drum solo that seems to never want to end, taken from the song Iron Butterfly by the band of the same name. However in the version that is presented here Mayr explores the exploding sound of the drum boiler, that likewise attains an organic quality through irregularly igniting firecrackers. Following in the Rock-Tradition Mayr willingly accepts that after this concert the drums can no longer be played as intended (but perhaps in another way?).