Sound Noir
Jacob Kirkegaard / Konrad Smolenski

Saturday 26 September 2015
7 — 10 PM

27 September — 22 November 2015



The NAK Neuer Aachener Kunstverein is pleased to present the exhibition Sound Noir by the artists Jacob Kirkegaard and Konrad Smoleński.

The exhibition Sound Noir is part of the cooperative, international project INTERsound initiated by the institutions ikob – Museum of Contemporary Art, Les Brasseurs – Art Contemporain and the NAK Neuer Aachener Kunstverein in order to bring together diverse, contemporary uses of sound as a medium within artistic contexts. The exhibition Sound Noir furthers the intensified entanglement of visual and auditory phenomenon that has emerged during the project with two installations, each of which offers acoustic interpretations of the culturally and politically loaded colour black.

Konrad Smoleński, One Mind in a Million Heads, 2015

The installation One Mind in a Million Heads by the Polish artist Konrad Smoleński consists of 41 diversely arranged speaker boxes which convert the exhibition space into a seemingly chaotic obstacle course, prompting visitors to actively wander through the scenery. The experience is intensified exponentially by a specific Sound-Setting which, according to varying volumes, speaker directions and acoustic overlaps, generates specific acoustic spaces within the arrangement of objects and makes a distanced and rationally classifiable reception impossible. As is typical of  Konrad Smoleńskis artistic approach, not only do the sculptural and acoustic elements in One Mind in a Million Heads coalesce into an all-encompassing spatial structure, but the installation also simultaneously instigates a space of aesthetic experience permeated by moments of disorientation, anxiety and inundation. The towering, ruin-like speakers conjure an atmosphere whose gloominess and inadequacy recall the dystopian cityscapes of Film Noir while the work’s acoustic impact advocates for an even more fundamental level of associations. Through musical and tonal phenomena, the physically and mentally engrossing character of the sonic scenery, in which an uninhibited energy can be experienced, unfolds a deeply psychodynamic potential. It is this unbridled energy, moving from the early days of Rock ‘n Roll through to the Punk, Metal and Noise movements, which approaches the black anarchistic impulse in a non-trivial way.


Jacob Kirkegaard, Untitled (Black Metal Square), 2015

By contrast, Jacob Kirkegaard‘s installation Untitled (Black Metal Square) addresses the colour black in an art historical context by reflexively approaching the subject of the Black Square. 100 years after Kasimir Malevich’s famous painting Black Square (1915) was first presented to the public, Jacob Kirkegaard develops the tradition laden motif with respect to its acoustic dimensions. His work Untitled (Black Metal Square) consists of a freely hanging black metal plate whose natural oscillations have been electronically amplified and fed back into the plate in order to generate an audible self-resonance. In his approach, Jacob Kirkegaard follows a deeper logic of the black square, one formulated by Malevich himself: ‘It is from nothing, in nothing, from which the true movement of being begins.’ One finds further clues to this mysterious void in a 1617 drawing by the English philosopher Robert Fludd in which he furnishes the edges of a black square with the words ‘et sic in infinitum’, thus marking a sensory relationship between nothingness and infinity. Paradoxically, this experience of total absence seems to lead us to the omnipresence of a potential universe, one yet to come. Though the artistic currents of the last century have urgently and thoroughly explored the mystical potential of the black square as a visual phenomenon, Jacob Kirkegaard’s Untitled (Black Metal Square) still succeeds at posing a new question: what would it be, what would we hear when our bodies were surrounded in this metaphysical black?



Jacob Kirkegaard (b.1975, Denmark) lives and works as an artist, composer and music producer in Berlin. His installations and performances have been presented in exhibitions at the MOCA in Roskilde (2015), the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo (2014), the MoMA in New York (2013) and the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin (2010) among others.


Originally from the Pink-Punk scene, Konrad Smoleński (b.1977, Poland) lives and works as an independent artist in Warsaw and Zürich. Alongside presentations of his works and performances at theVolkspalais in Den Haag (2014), the Kunsthalle Winterthur (2014) and the ICA in London (2013), Konrad Smoleński has also produced a solo presentation at the Polish Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013).


With kindly supported by: