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Yesterday's Noise is Tomorrow's Silence

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Our niece, artist Krysia Kordecki, has her first solo exhibition, in The Art Village, Shawlands Shopping Centre, south of the river. Being in a shopping venue, tucked away off the main spread of venues for the Glasgow International Art Festival, seems not to have affected the footfall of folk popping in, not being intimidated by a grand museum-like space normally associate with ‘Art’.

In ‘Yesterday’s Noise is Tomorrow’s Silence’, Krysia explores the connections we make and lose across time, between artefacts and the sounds they emanate as part of our everyday consciousness, and even to stimulate us to recalibrate our own relationship with sound, material, noise, and aural landscape, call it what you will.

We all accept the presence and authority of the disembodied voices, from anonymous speakers, wall mounted, instructing us. One of her pieces is a pair of such speakers, reminiscent of Orwell’s big brother world of 1984 perhaps, or Soviet Russia. It hangs innocently up in a corner of her exhibition, emitting the sounds of the dial-up sequence we used to be familiar with, the clacking of a computer keyboard, typing up political speeches perhaps, and eventually we hear strings of Morse code tapping itself back into our collective memory, of black and white films from the fifties, bringing up scenes from the sinking of the Titanic, when the radio operator sat calling for help that fateful night. The insistent stuttering of a geiger counter staccatos its way into our heads, its sinister implication connecting to our own images of Chernobyl, or the first atom bomb and its deadly aftermath.

Another striking piece for me was her depiction, by means of black chains, suspended from the ceiling in a line of curves, holding microphones, emitting noise, illustrating how tinnitus can chain a life, by obscuring all else, simply by noise.

In the middle of the floor was a long, tempting piece of giant bubble wrap, taped down and inviting visitors to walk. The strange thing is that the noises are explosive in the quiet of the room, and the adult walker feels compelled to stop. Children have a different response!

Amidst this exploration of sound, Krysia has two tall tombstone like pieces of high density polyurethane foam. Soft aqua in colour, the foam sucks away all sound effect, and standing between them, one feels gentle peace and warmth. The shape is a reference to Krysia’s mother who passed away recently, after a brief illness. The silence and comfort seem a fitting response to the memory of a loved and loving mother, pulling one back into the warmth of love, security and peace.

Two other pieces, cast in plaster and concrete, in the shape of cabinet speakers, which are transducers, to be touched, allowing one to feel the sound transmitting from within. The tactile effect through the hands from these sculptures reminds one that sound, though invisible, has a physical impact on all of us, and both the complete lack of sound, utter silence, and its opposite, a deafening, unceasing cacophony of loud noise, are each unhealthy for human beings.

In the far corner at the back of her space, lies a huge mountain of acoustic tiles which have been mutilated, by the artist and her assisting sister! The anthracite colour and broken crystalline shapes, brought to mind a coal bing…a landscape feature long gone, thankfully healed over by nature, and probably never witnessed by the artist! The crashing machinery and inherent danger for miners working down in the noisy darkness of coal pits; that yesterday’s noise, in our tomorrow, is now totally silent. The need for acoustic tiling to cut out the ambient noise of twenty-first century living is itself evidence that noise has become too prevalent and the individualisation of our listening habits by means of earphones straight from our iPhones, is our way to escape the random noise in our urban lives, but cutting out the natural uplifting sounds of our planet.

This is a very engaging exhibition, thoughtfully curated, intelligently provocative and throwing the viewer into thoughts of where it all began…with the Big Bang, still audible on electronic telescopes. We are all made of that star dust, and our universe started with a gigantic explosion which ironically for this exhibition was silent in space.

 

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