The spatial installation Silence by Polish artist Paweł Althamer is a garden for meditation built in the square in front of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.
To Althamer, each element of the garden—be it a fallen tree or a particular deciduous bush—is a hidden quote, while the composition as a whole is a unique environment where the restless city dweller of today can alter the regime of time, as if transported to a picturesque space in a past era, where the rhythm and pace of life were not by default accelerated to the limit. According to Althamer, Silence is a space where everything happens here and now. It is only in such a space that we can truly find time for ourselves.
Working with the community of people with disabilities, with whom he organizes regular sculpture and drawing workshops, has been an important part of Althamer’s practice since 1993. For the artist, this special kind of collaborative authorship represents the therapeutic power of art in action, as well as art’s ability to socialize individuals whose life is otherwise almost invisible to society. For Silence, Althamer collaborated with local specialists in working with people with disabilities to create a number of meditations and spiritual and physical practices accessible to everyone, which take place in the garden at specific times. The garden meditations are based on the principle of audio description (a type of narration used to convey visual information to the blind) and require objective and non-judgmental description of objects and the space, which allows us to experience a reality that seems obvious in a different way. Another featured practice, the yoga of vibrations, works with a kind of concentration aided not by music but by vibrations created using instruments such as singing bowls or tuning forks.
The project includes a series of performative events within the installation, which modulate its “silence” in various ways. Althamer’s long-standing interest in folk art and street musicians inspired his collaboration with the Russian band Doros, who continue the Russian singing tradition and specialize in compositions of the 18th and 19th centuries. He has also created a meditative performance in collaboration with Bolshoi Theater performers.
The installation has been created together with MOX landscape architecture.
Curator: Andrey Misiano
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