"The Concert" is the first discographic collaboration between percussionist Alexandre Babel and visual artist Latifa Echakhch. The record is intimately linked to the eponymous exhibition presented at the Swiss Pavilion during the 59th Venice Art Bienniale.
For her exhibition in the Swiss Pavilion, Latifa Echakhch created an orchestrated and enveloping experience, a rhythmic and spatial proposal that allowed the visitor a complete perception of time and of his own body. What is the origin of rhythm? How does the body perceive time? How does the mind rearrange it? Can we substitute one perception for another, the visual for the sound? Can fragments of memory go back in time and recreate a different story?
Her proposal entered a dialogue with the building around it, designed by Bruno Giacometti. The artist revisited its architectural programme as well as the prototypical progression of these exhibition spaces, originally defined for the display of classical art. She appropriated the entirety of the spaces, simultaneously exploring continuity, movement and sequence. Their relationship to light, and the different sounds that emerge from them. Yet the exhibition was entirely silent and the musical composition "The Concert" functions as its sound rendering, by following a similar path.
This one-sided vinyl is a complementary and inseparable partner piece to the exhibition and its eponymous catalogue, the latter having been published in April 2022 by Sternberg Press. The music features field recordings made at the Swiss Pavilion itself as well as pre-recorded percussion sounds and significant contributions by the Berlin-based musicians Jon Heilbronn, Rebecca Lenton, Theo Nabicht, Nikolaus Schlierf.
The record, available only after the closing of Latifa Echakhch’s exhibition offers a concluding phase to the project. The resonance of its sensory score. It reactivates the experience of the physical journey of the installation, without imposing itself as a transcription or an illustration. Through texture, temporality and its totality, the record stands as a resonance of the rhythms that have structured the pavilion, the harmonies that have composed it and the sounds that have inhabited it.
Latifa Echakhch Lives and works in Vevey, Switzerland. She graduated from the École nationale supérieure d’arts in Cergy-Pontoise and the École nationale des beaux-arts in Lyon. Galleries representing her include kamel mennour (Paris and London), kaufmann repetto (Milan and New York), Dvir Gallery (Tel Aviv/Brussels) and Pace (New York). She took part in the main exhibition of the Venice Biennale Arte in 2011 and was awarded the prix Marcel-Duchamp in 2013 and the Zurich Art Prize in 2015. Through her interdisciplinary installations, Latifa Echakhch is recognized for the fine balance between forcefulness and fragility of her visual language, inserting surrealist and conceptual elements, and her use of symbols that–in her own words–are both "political and poetic".
Alexandre Babel Lives and works in Berlin. He is a drummer, composer, and curator. His projects redefine the boundaries of musical convention, confounding listener expectations in the conquest of new contexts. Babel has been the artistic director of the contemporary percussion group Eklekto 2013–2022. In 2020, the monographic Festival Les Amplitudes in La Chaux-de-Fonds focused on Babel’s compositional and curatorial work. He is a laureate of the Swiss Music Prize from the Federal Office of Culture 2021.