The sensory space of listening, experiential spaces, and sound illusions are the central elements in Alexander Tillegreen’s recent installation works.
Both conceptually and formally, sound is the focal point in Alexander Tillegreen’s artistic work. With sound as the frame of reference, he is working in an investigative way that spans across different mediums and different forms of expression, like sculpture, graphic arts, painting, installation and performance art.
A recurring part of Alexander Tillegreen’s work is the exploration of various layers of meaning and interconnections among the visual, the sculptural and the sonic. In his investigations of how we consciously unconsciously perceive sound in the interfaces between space, body, language and memory, he conjoins his own artistic approach with a number of scientific approaches, through collaborations and dialogue with scholars working at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt who are in the fields of psychology, musicology, neuroscience, vocal aesthetics and linguistics.
Tillegreen uses the elements of his investigation both as subject matter and as knowledge-gathering in his artistic practice, as is evident in his work, ‘Phantom Streams’ (2020-). This piece is based on phantom words: wording that the listener him/herself gestalts in an illusory way through the experience of the artwork. Words that really are not necessarily audibly present.
Depending on the visiting public’s individual physical placement and movement inside the room, the listening experience changes markedly. The listener’s own linguistic references and subconscious mind generate further bases for the word streams issuing from speakers placed in the room to be sensed and perceived in very different ways. The visiting public accordingly gets a chance to experience hearing passing illusions of pronounced words and sentences.
This consequently gives rise to a distinctive spatial complicity in the work, on the part of the audience, where members of the visiting public, through the empathy of the body and the psyche, take part in an immersive sensuality which is only going to occur in the individual specific listening moment.
With these works, Tillegreen aims to investigate the relation between these sound phenomena and to make the listener aware of his/her/their own linguistic, psychological and cultural embedding: an essential component in our way of sensing the outside world.
This transpires by shifting our perception of reality and the way in which we distinguish between what we imagine, what we hear, and the actual acoustic signal – the sound that comes out of the speaker.
For the time being, Alexander Tillegreen is working on a number of new projects, including an upcoming museum exhibition, and series of performative listening sessions and a solo album that also has sprouted forth from his research.
“It is very interesting when one, as a visual artist, casts himself out over sound as material, in combination with a whole lot of well-thought-out artistic approaches, as Alexander Tillegreen is doing. Alexander Tillegreen’s practice examines, among other things, the relations between two ostensibly separate areas – scientific research and visual art. And he is very curious and inquisitive about the importance of the sense of hearing for us as one aspect of our sensory apparatus, training his focus on the bodily, psychological experience’s potential that is seated in the listening experience. Alexander’s ability to conduct research on the auditory sense, through approaches that are native to visual art, is particularly interesting. His interdisciplinary work and research in the fields of art history, psychology, musicology, neuroscience, vocal aesthetics and linguistics is in possession of a great artistic potential, with an intrinsically international scope, which not only focuses on the art’s being in the world but also operates in experimental interaction with it,” says Mette Marcus, director of the Bikuben Foundation.
Alexander Tillegreen (born 1991, Copenhagen) was educated at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, Germany and at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, in New York City. Concurrently with this training, he has been studying art history and sound studies at the University of Copenhagen.
His works have been exhibited and have been performed at festivals and at solo exhibitions as well as at group exhibitions, internationally, including: Basis, Frankfurt, Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt, CTM Transmediale Festival Berlin, fffriedrich Frankfurt, Kunstverein Wiesen, Agnes Maybach Köln, Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Roskilde Festival, STRØM Festival, CPH DOX, Eufonia Festival Berlin, Galerie Jean Claude Maier, Galleri Tom Christoffersen, Fotografisk Center, Code Art Fair and Statens Museum for Kunst.
Upcoming projects include a solo album; a solo exhibition at FuturDome, in Milan; and an exhibition and residency at I:Projects in Beijing, in 2022.
Place and time for interview:
Kunsthal Charlottenborg, film-viewing room, Kgs. Nytorv 1, on June 23, from 3:00-4:00 P.M.
You can sign up via the link here.
Vanessa Joan Müller is an art historian, curator and writer based in Vienna. She studied art history and film theory at the Ruhr University Bochum and holds a PhD in art history. From 2000 to 2006, she was curator at the Frankfurter Kunstverein in Frankfurt am Main, and from 2006 to 2007, she was Head of Research at the European Kunsthalle in Cologne. From 2007 to 2011, she was director of the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen in Düsseldorf, and in 2011/12 she was lecturer at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design in the “Exhibition Design and Curatorial Practice” department. From 2013 to 2000, she was Head of Dramaturgy at Kunsthalle Wien. She has curated numerous exhibitions in various institutions, amongst others, the Albanian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. She has also published numerous essays and articles on contemporary art and theory.