Eva Lootz (Vienna, 1940) has developed her artistic career in Spain since the Seventies. In her beginnings the use of materials such as canvas, felt, wax, paraffin and other humble materials led her practice to the field of sculpture, drawing and installation. Her pieces have a strong poetic and symbolic load, a defining characteristic of her personal style.
For this installation created specifically for the occasion and entitled La lengua de los pájaros, Lootz exploits the similarity of the Palacio de Cristal to a large aviary or volière to recreate an environment based on birds’ communicative form of expression: song. Inside the pavilion the artist has combined several elements in which her material properties are imposed, as is usual in her work. In the centre there is a large cone of sand, held by a retaining wall on one side. Above and around it there is a walkway that suggests the possibility of walking through the airspace at the Palacio de Cristal. Several loudspeakers placed in different parts of the sand-hill play different species of birds like a Tower of Babel. Lootz noted that it was common for some birds to get into the Palacio from outside, so the sounds produced live are added to the pre-recorded ones.
Language is often one of the fundamental issues in Lootz’s works. Since the language series created by the artist during the Eighties up until this installation, there has been a common thread that unites many of her pieces. The auditory scene recreating this installation provides the space for direct contact with the language of the birds and the ability to relate it to our musical language. Pedro Bonet, recorder professor at the Conservatory of Madrid and Wade Matthews, Doctor of Musical Arts from Columbia University in New York, musician and composer, are responsible for establishing a direct dialogue through their instruments with the sounds produced by birds. Both musicians improvise, taking as a base the existing sounds in the Palacio, site-specific compositions, created and conducted in a manner consistent with prior sound environment.
Lootz has considered the numerous historical myths regarding the language of the birds present in diverse cultures such as Traité de rythme, de couleur et d'ornithologie produced by musician Olivier Messiaen, who considers song to be the origin of music. The artist also plays a metaphorical game which relates the notion of the mermaid in Greek culture, originally a bird-woman, to song, the nest and the cage all present in her installation.
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