Dick Raaijmakers (1930-2013) was a great pioneer in electronic acoustics, in its technique but also as a composer.
In fact he was such a multifaceted and inventive figure that looking at his heritage all descriptions of him seem to fall short.
Presently GEM honours him by showing his Ideophone III of 1971, and works by younger artists, who, in one way or another, have followed in his footsteps.
Of the other works Yota Morimoto’s (1981) look the most akin to Raaijmakers’ Ideophone in their sculptural qualities.
One could call them, with some modernist aplomb, sculptures of sound, with the notion that creating sound waves not just generates sounds and vibrations but also forms with an aesthetics dictated by technology.
In Barbara Ellison’s (1973) work Phantasmas Materialis the whole idea of sculpture is meant to be turned into the imagination of the visitor who can listen and see (inward or outward) from the comfort of a lounge chair.
The extremely soft and silent work by Bram Vreven (1973) just shows vibrations in an almost classicist white way.
In his great installation Das ist die Tradition: Du füllst das Glas und trinkst es leer (That is the tradition: you fill the glass and drink it empty) Matthias König (1987) refers to German carnival traditions, their deep rooted pre-Christian popular customs and exuberance, mixed with present day sound and colour systems.
Video and sound (from his own composition) are whirling through each other, constantly reshaping the symbols of tradition.
The whole exhibition, as such, is maybe the first one that really successfully fits into GEM’s new space, bringing together such diverse works as Vreven’s unobtrusive object and König’s spectacular installation and balancing the whole with Morimoto’s and Raaijmakers’ works.
However it also makes you wonder if a far bigger exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum wouldn’t have been more appropriate, as many other artists are working in the field of sonology, and who need a much bigger audience than the visitors of GEM, which now seems to be a kind of bonus for visiting the Fotomuseum (Museum for Photography).
Give sound more space; it is worth it!
[Click on the pictures to enlarge]
© Villa Next Door 2018
Content of all photographs courtesy to all artists, the estate of Dick Raaijmakers and GEM, Den Haag