Event Public Program

Juan Muñoz
Double Bind & Around

15 June 2015 – 9.00pm

A Man in a Room, Gambling

HangarBicocca presents A Man in a Room, Gambling (1992-1997), Juan Muñoz‘s first sound work, which arose out of his collaboration with the famous English composer Gavin Bryars. Combining the musical compositions of Gavin Bryars with a recording of Juan Muñoz’s voice, the project was originally made for a radio broadcast but this never went on air and it was first performed by the Gavin Bryars Ensemble only in 1997. On this occasion it was commissioned by Artangel.

The work, which is less well known but no less significant than his sculpture, contains some of the most important themes in Juan Muñoz’s art: a fascination with illusionism, narrative fiction and irony, a taste for paradox, and interaction between the artist and audience. In this work, which consists of ten pieces of about five minutes, the artist’s voice describes the tricks of a card player, interspersed with music composed and played by Gavin Bryars and a string quartet. However, rather than describing and communicating, the words end up by disorienting the audience, who are fascinated more by the sounds and by the rhythm of the voice and music than by the actual meaning.

During the performance at HangarBicocca, Gavin Bryars is accompanied by the Sentieri selvaggi ensemble, one of the most important contemporary music groups in Italy.

Gavin Bryars (1943) is one of the best-known and admired contemporary musicians. A jazz bassist, he was one of the pioneers of “free improvisation” with Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley. Some of his earliest pieces, including The Sinking of the Titanic and Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, achieved huge popular success. His compositions include operas, chamber music, concerts and many vocal works. He has often worked with visual artists (including Juan Muñoz and Bruce McLean), choreographers (Merce Cunningham and Carolyn Carlson, among others) and directors (including Robert Wilson and Atom Egoyan). In 1986 he formed the Gavin Bryars Ensemble. His works have been published by major labels (ECM, Point, Philips, Naxos, Decca, and his own GB Records).

The Sentieri selvaggi Association was set up in 1997 with the aim of introducing the general public to contemporary music. The activities of Sentieri selvaggi include the organisation of an annual musical season in residence at the Teatro Elfo Puccini (Milan), an intense programme of concerts in the most prestigious national and international musical seasons and the creation of across-the-board projects in unusual spaces and settings.

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