Kristin Oppenheim is best known for her highly intriguing sound installations. Since the 1990s, she has installed these audio works both in exhibition spaces and in public spaces outdoors. Her interest in psychology, storytelling, and performance is apparent in the specific “staging,” into which the audience is literally immersed. In these “sonic spaces” she addresses issues such as memory, dreamlike states, the presence of absence, or the inner voice. The ghostly presence of the disembodied voice repeating song snippets over and again develops a narrative of great suggestive power.
The artist uses her voice as well as other sound sources as instruments to convey a certain (psycho-logical) mood. She experiments with repetitions, superimpositions, intonation, and volume to control the impact of the soundtrack or amplify the desired perception of an intimate situation. With this purely auditive form of performance, the actor is not present, but the narrative and melody resonate in the listener’s imagination and become inscribed upon his or her memory.
In Echo, Oppenheim projects a narrative in which sleep, nocturnal waking, and dream images play central parts: the exhibition revolves around a mental state different from our everyday consciousness with its focus on functioning—and revolves and revolves, like the canon-like chant in the sound installation Where Did You Sleep Last Night? (2013) or the ghostly somnambulistic imagery of the new film installation Ultramarine (2015), which might infiltrate our subconscious like a slow-acting drug. The somnambulistic narrative continues in After Hours (2015), a series of silkscreen prints that show an image of the artist who appears to be shifting in and out of the dark.
In conjunction with the exhibition the Secession will release the LP Where Did You Sleep Last Night? Oppenheim’s audio piece refers to Kurt Cobain’s cover version of the American folk song from 1994.
In addition, Kristin Oppenheim is presenting a work in an outdoor space next to the Secession building. In the subway passage, passersby virtually walk through the sound installation Sally Go Round(1995), an adaption of the 1963 song, Sally Go Round the Roses by The Jaynettes.
Invited by the Board of the Secession
Curator: Jeanette Pacher