The Forty Part Motet

Janet Cardiff

Archive Exhibitions (1 April to 20 May 2011)
The Forty Part Motet is a sound installation by Canadian artist, Janet Cardiff based on the renaissance choral music Spem in Alium (1573) by Thomas Tallis.
Forty separate voices are played back through forty speakers; each placed torso-like in clusters of five and aligned in an oval.

Cardiff uses sound to create emotional experiences of space and intimacy – You can hear the sound move from one choir to another… and then experience the overwhelming feeling as the sound waves hit you.

The Forty Part Motet allows us to wander freely as if in the presence of live performers. We are able to home in on individual harmonies or eavesdrop on irreverent asides – we can turn or back away – follow movements of sound or find new connections within the polyphonic whole.

Cardiff is fascinated by sound as a spatial form. The physical and virtual space that The Forty Part Motet encompasses connects our bodies to the sounds we hear and allows us to climb inside the music.

About The Artist

Janet Cardiff (b.1957) is a Canadian artist who lives and works in Berlin, Germany and Grindrod, British Columbia, Canada. Like other artists of her generation she works with a variety of media including sound, video, photography and installation. She is probably most known for her sound walks in which participants are guided to explore concepts of reality memory, place and desire through the use of binaural recorded sound.

Janet Cardiff has shown her work widely around the world and has participated in the Munster Skulptur Projekte in 1997 and exhibited in the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, 1999. She represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 2001 with long-term collaborator, George Bures Miller. A major survey of Cardiff Miller works has toured to PS1 in New York, The Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montreal, The Astrop Fearnley Museum, Oslo and the Castello Rivoli In Turin. A current touring exhibition of Cardiff Miller works will be seen at MACBA, Barcelona, Institut Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt and the Miami Art Centre, Miami.

She is represented by Luhring Augustine Gallery in New York City and Barbara Weiss Gallery in Berlin.

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