While the last two years were particularly rough for museums and galleries, the art world is quickly picking up and there’s a slate of major sound art shows lined up for 2022.
For starters, Camille Norment’s cultural psychoacoustics are the latest addition to Dia Chelsea’s two spaces in New York. OK OK OK – Bruce Nauman’s exclamatory commands and chants – travel towards Beijing. It’s a particularly aural year countrywide in Germany with multiple audiovisual shows across the country, including solo presentations by Carsten Nicolai and Tony Cokes in Munich. And in case you missed them in their previous appearances, there are new regional debuts of The Great Animal Orchestra and The Murder of Crows in Sydney and Madrid. There’s a lot to take in at the Venice Biennale 2022 and Marco Fusinato’s DESASTRES at the Australian Pavilion is certainly on the bucket list.
Explore what the year has to offer in sound art exhibitions around the world.
1. FLORIAN HECKER: FORMULATIONS AS TEXTURE, HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL CROSSINGS
Where: Simian exhibition space in Copenhagen, Denmark
When: Until April 2, 2022
Florian Hecker’s solo show at experimental gallery space Simian divides the horizontal and vertical crossings of the space into two quasi-equal parts through a suspended architecture with loudspeakers, cables and sound-absorbing panels, and a three-channel computer-generated sound work on each side.
2. SUSAN PHILIPSZ: THE FALL
Where: Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, Netherlands
When: Until April 3, 2022
Scottish artist Susan Philipsz made it to Amsterdam’s oldest building, the Oude Kerk, where her sound installation The Fall interprets Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck’s Mein Junges Leben Hat ein End in her own melancholic voice across the monumental setting of the church. Philipsz is additionally presenting another sound installation, Broken Ensemble, across the board room.
3. SONIC INSURGENCY RESEARCH GROUP (SIRG): IF THE SOURCE IS OPEN (MEGAMIX)
Where: Locust Projects in Miami, FL
When: Until April 9, 2022
In the heart of the Miami Design District, Locust Projects presents a sound installation by Sonic Insurgency Research Group (SIRG), where four speakers broadcast a collage of sound fragments with Miami-focused sounds, including site recordings, experimental compositions, lectures, fragments of conversations, DJ mixes, archival audio, and more.
4. POEM OF ECSTASY: EMILIE WRIGHT
Where: Lydgalleriet in Bergen, Norway
When: Until April 10, 2022
At Lydgalleriet – the only permanent exhibition platform for sound art in the Nordic countries – Australian artist Emilie Wright’s Poem of Ecstasy explores “themes of sadomasochism, catharsis and internal cosmology through fragile architectures and psychoacoustics within experimental forms of field recording, vocals, audio signal processing and low frequency sound waves”.
5. ANNE LE TROTER: LES VOLONTAIRES, PIGMENTS-MÉDICAMENTS
Where: Bétonsalon in Paris, France
When: Until April 23, 2022
Paris-based artist Anne Le Troter, winner of the ADAGP-Bétonsalon 2021 grant, continues her exploration of the mechanisms of language and the power of speech through sound, writing and installation, transforming thousands of photographs by Marc Vaux into a sound archive. Tiny speakers cascade from the works, bouncing acoustic transmission across the space.
6. HARRY BERTOIA RETROSPECTIVE
Where: Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, TX
When: Until April 24, 2022
Italian-born, American artist Harry Bertoia (1915–1978) advanced the use of sound as sculptural material in his practice. This major retrospective brings together over 100 works featuring jewelry, metalsmithing, furniture design, monotypes, as well as sound sculptures. The exhibition is complemented with Sightings, a site-specific sound installation by Olivia Block.
7. ROSA BARBA: EXHIBITION NOTES
Where: Cukrarna in Ljubljana, Slovenia
When: Until April 24, 2022
Curated by Alenka Gregorič, Exhibition Notes features an installation by Berlin-based artist Rosa Barba across the Cukrarna basement gallery. Eight different works come together in their color and sound compositions across a steel construction.
8. EVAN IFEKOYA: ~ RESONANT FREQUENCIES
Where: Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zurich, Switzerland
When: Until May 1, 2022
How do we learn to listen to resonance? Experience an immersive sound installation by London-based artist and “energy worker” Evan Ifekoya that transforms the ground floor of the Migros Museum into a multisensory environment with ‘Solfeggio frequencies.’
9. JENNIE C. JONES: DYNAMICS
Where: Guggenheim Museum in New York, NY
When: Until May 2, 2022
Most of the works in this major solo exhibition feature architectural felt and acoustic panels to create “active surfaces” that absorb sound and “affect the acoustic properties of their environments and invite participation in an embodied mode of perception”. The show also features a sound installation on the sixth floor.
10. SOUNDWAVES: EXPERIMENTAL STRATEGIES IN ART + MUSIC
Where: Moody Center for the Arts | Rice Arts in Houston, TX
When: Until May 14, 2022
On the 10th anniversary of the James Turrell Twilight Epiphany Skyspace at Rice University, this group show celebrates the history of experimentation across the disciplines of art and music and pays homage to visual and performing artists who have demonstrated a deep engagement with the field of music. Artists on view include Nevin Aladağ, Raven Chacon, Jamal Cyrus, Spencer Finch, Idris Khan, Christine Sun Kim, Trevor Paglen, Anri Sala, Jorinde Voigt, and more.
11. SOUND AS SCULPTURE
Where: The Warehouse Dallas in Dallas, TX
When: Until May 28, 2022
Sound as Sculpture brings together works from the 1960s and 1970s as well as recent works to “examine the different ways in which artists have used sound to create an experience of space as time; play with the body’s ability to emit, transmit, perceive, and absorb sound; and draw on the psychological and poetic effects of sound in space”.
12. BORDER CANTOS | SONIC BORDERS
Where: Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa
When: Until June 5, 2022
A collaboration between American photographer Richard Misrach and Mexican-American artist and composer Guillermo Galindo that explores and “humanizes” the complexities of the Mexican-American border. Galindo's composition Sonic Borders employs eight musical instruments the artist created from objects discarded near the border.
13. BRUCE NAUMAN: OK OK OK
Where: M WOODS in Beijing, China
When: Until June 11, 2022
In collaboration with Tate Modern and the Stedelijk Museum, M WOODS Museum presents China’s first and most comprehensive overview of the work of the American artist Bruce Nauman. The show includes Nauman’s 2004 Tate Turbine Hall sound installation commission, Raw Materials, which brings together twenty-two recordings of texts taken from earlier works – including “OK OK OK”, the title of this exhibition.
14. THE GREAT ANIMAL ORCHESTRA
Where: Barangaroo in Sydney, Australia
When: Until June 13, 2022
The Biennale of Sydney and Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain present the Australian premiere of The Great Animal Orchestra (2016), the traveling audio installation with more than 5,000 hours of recordings of natural habitats by “bio acoustician” Bernie Kraus complemented with a three-dimensional electronic installation by the London-based studio United Visual Artists.
15. FRANCES BARRETT: MEATUS
Where: Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne, Australia
When: April 2 – June 19, 2022
Presented as part of the Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship, Adelaide-based artist Frances Barrett presents new sonic compositions and live performances by multiple artists alongside herself, with three specially commissioned sound compositions by Nina Buchanan, Del Lumanta and Sione Teumohenga. “A ‘meatus’ – to which the exhibition title refers – is an opening or passage leading to the interior of the body, such as the ear canal and nasal passages.”
16. GROPIUS HOUSE || FICTIONAL: RITA EVANS
Where: Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in Dessau-Rosslau, Germany
When: Until June 26, 2022
Instrument, the work Bauhaus resident Rita Evans developed for Haus Gropius, “thrives on communication between the audience and the performers, who play the same instrument together.”
17. LAWRENCE ABU HAMDAN: THE SONIC IMAGE
Where: Sharjah Art Foundation in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
When: Until July 4, 2022
“What does it mean to sonify images?” asks Abu Hamdan in his largest institutional solo exhibition to date, The Sonic Image. This exhibition is curated by Omar Kholeif and features new iterations of recent multisensory works, the new commission Air Conditioning (2022), and a site-specific performance.
When: Until July 15, 2022
Baptizing a brand new contemporary art space across the historic Palazzo Roccagiovine in Rome (near Trajan's Column) is the show LOVOTIC, curated by Threes Productions and featuring a multi-channel sound installation with audio by Soundwalk Collective and Charlotte Gainsbourg. “The result is a nonlinear, multiple-voice discourse, reminiscent of Roland Barthes’ masterpiece A Lover's Discourse: Fragments, possibly one of the greatest philosophical explorations of lovers’ inner monologue”.
19. LAMONT HAMILTON: TO HEAR THE EARTH BEFORE THE END OF THE WORLD
Where: CU Art Museum in Boulder, CO
When: Until July 16, 2022
What does destruction sound like? CU Art Museum’s 2022 artist-in-residence LaMont Hamilton explores the changing earth in a sixty-minute sound and light journey with modulated environmental recordings intermixed with digital and instrumental sounds that are organized around air, earth, fire, water, and the aether.
20. CARSTEN NICOLAI
Where: Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany
When: June 3 – July 17, 2022
Carsten Nicolai uses electromagnetic waves that are picked up by the antenna on the rooftop of Haus der Kunst in Munich, along with site-specific instruments, creating a soundscape “that invites visitors to perceive their own bodies as a magnetic field within a space full of frequencies”.
21. JANET CARDIFF AND GEORGE BURES MILLER: THE MURDER OF CROWS
Where: Matadero Madrid in Madrid, Spain
When: Until July 24, 2022
This sound installation, presented for the first time in Spain, draws inspiration from Francisco de Goya’s 1799 aquatint The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters. “The installation becomes a requiem for a world that has lost its bearings, where a dearth of reason has brought forth unimaginable atrocities, madness, and catastrophe.”
22. NICOLE MILLER: A SOUND, A SIGNAL, THE CIRCUS
Where: Kemper Art Museum in Kansas City, MO
When: March 25 – July 25, 2022
California-based Nicole Miller presents a major new 24-channel soundscape project that explores and expands an understanding of synesthesia as it relates to the Black experience in the US through an intricate choreography of sound, moving image, and laser-light animation. “The installation engages with the sonic, the somatic, and aspects of spectacle to enact what the artist describes as a kind of ‘ecstatic translation’.”
23. RYOJI IKEDA
Where: Hirosaki Museum of Contemporary Art in Hirosaki, Japan
When: April 16 – August 28, 2022
Japanese visual and sound artist Ryoji Ikeda's first large-scale exhibition at a museum in Japan since 2009 features recent works and sensory symphonies.
24. TAREK ATOUI: WATERS’ WITNESS
Where: Serralves Museum in Porto, Portugal
When: Until August 28, 2022
Lebanese artist and electro-acoustic composer Tarek Atoui captures the sounds of port cities – Athens, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Beirut, and Porto – with organic decomposing matter in the soundscape titled Waters’ Witness.
25. TONY COKES
Where: Kunstverein München / Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany
When: June 6 – October 23, 2022
Split across both the Kunstverein München and the Haus der Kunst spaces in Munich, this is Germany’s first solo show of Tony Cokes. “The artist’s fast-moving audiovisual works are based on found text fragments and pop music, stemming from different times and contexts.”
26. MARCO FUSINATO: DESASTRES AT THE VENICE BIENNALE
Where: Giardini della Biennale in Venice, Italy
When: April 23 – November 27, 2022
Commissioned by the Australia Council for the Arts and curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor, Marco Fusinato’s presentation at the Venice Biennale 2022, DESASTRES, is an experimental noise project that synchronizes sound with image and takes the form of a solo performance as installation. Fusinato will be performing during the opening hours of the Biennale for a total of 200 days, using an electric guitar “as a signal generator into mass amplification to improvise slabs of noise, saturated feedback and discordant intensities that trigger a deluge of images.”
27. BILL FONTANA: RESOUNDING IO
Where: Arter in Istanbul, Turkey
When: Until December 4, 2022
Curated by Melih Fereli as the fifth edition of Arter’s Sound Art Projects series, the exhibition will be the world premiere of Resounding Io, an installation commissioned by Arter based on video and sound recordings the Cleveland-born artist Bill Fontana recorded at numerous locations in İstanbul—including the the Strait of Istanbul, the Bosphorus.
28. CAROLYN LAZARD: LONG TAKE
Where: Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN
When: Until December 11, 2022
The first US solo museum presentation of the work of Carolyn Lazard features multiple sound installations, including the 2017 work A Conspiracy which features a grid of white noise machines that are “typically used to generate a sense of privacy within a hospital or therapist’s office”.
29. CAMILLE NORMENT: PLEXUS
Where: Dia Chelsea in New York, NY
When: Until January 2023
Camille Norment explores the notion of what she refers to as “cultural psychoacoustics” across her work. For her new site-specific commission, sculptural installations are united with a sonic composition that engages with the history of the two Dia Chelsea sites at 545 West 22nd Street and 541 West 22nd Street.
30. ON AIR: THE SOUND OF THE MATERIAL IN THE ART OF THE 1950S TO 1970S
Where: Kunstmuseen Krefeld in Krefeld, Germany
When: November 25 to March 26, 2023
Curated by Sylvia Martin and staged in collaboration with Museum Tinguely in Basel, this exhibition is dedicated to the invisible material of sound in the art of the 1950s to ’70s focusing on works by Yaakov Agam, Joseph Beuys, Hermann Goepfert, Jannis Kounellis, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, Jean Tinguely, David Tudor, and Timm Ulrichs. “In this experimental period, boundaries in art were broken down, and artists processed materials that had previously played no role in the art context.”
Cover Credit: Spencer Platt via Getty Images
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Writer | Bana Bissat
Bana Bissat is a Milan-based writer who reports on sound art for Sound of Life. She has written for Flash Art, Lampoon, and Cultured. @banabissat