They won't survive without the bird songs
In 1980 the Danish Fluxus artist and composer Henning Christiansen staged a ten day action titled Die grosse grüne Zelt-Symphonie (mit Vögeln), outside the Düsseldorf opera house with a group of young artists and activists, including Joseph Beuys and Johannes Stüttgen, as a ‘kind of propaganda’ for the early Green Party, of which Beuys was co-founder. This happening was one of several collaborations between Beuys and Christiansen that engaged the concept of Social Sculpture – performances and gestures that embody an understanding of art's potential to both shape society and the environment. For ten days they lived together in a tent, holding conversations, making performances and cohabitating in close proximity. Simultaneously, Christiansen blasted continuous music, field recordings and sounds out into the public space. When describing this he said: “underneath it all was a recording of bird song… The people in the tent would not have survived if it weren't for the bird song.”
THEY WON’T SURVIVE WITHOUT THE BIRD SONGS brings together historical works from Ursula Reuter Christiansen and Henning Christiansen for their Los Angeles debut, investigating two disparate practices that grew and developed alongside one another. While Reuter Christiansen’s paintings and films draw from archaic symbolism and myth, Christiansen played with a tension between structure and chaos in kinship with the international Fluxus movement of which he was part. Still, they made several profound collaborations and came together through a mutual ongoing investigation of ‘nature’. A selection of paintings, scores, sound installations and sculptures, as well as Reuter Christiansen’s seminal psychedelic feminist film Den Røde Skov (1986) will be on view, working as an introduction to the prolific, life-long practices of these two artists.