February 11 – April 19, 2020 February 9, 2020, 4 pm: Opening and Concert by Thies Mynther + Veit Sprenger
2019 was the 20th anniversary of the exceptional musician Moondog’s death (1916–1999). The blind composer, poet and music theorist was an important figure in the counterculture of the 1960s and -70s. Moondog, “Viking of the 6th Avenue”, active both in the USA and in Germany as a street artist, mobile poet and instrument maker, has exerted substantial influence on contemporary art until today. From the mid-1970s on, his nomadic lifestyle led the American artist first to Hamburg, then via Recklinghausen to Münster, where he lived until his death.
Departing from Moondog’s works, the composer Thies Mynther and theatre maker Veit Sprenger in collaboration with the visual artist Tobias Euler have created an interventionist music machine. The “Moon Machine” is a mobile sound system—a bricolage consisting of pneumatic instruments and mechatronic sound automats, sun shades, bugles and acoustic collision warning devices—being played by the two performers Mynther and Sprenger. The acoustic sculpture was first put into operation by the artists at the international festival Flurstücke 019 in Münster in 2019. In the frame of the exhibition at the Kunsthalle Münster, the trio made up of Euler, Mynther and Sprenger is continuing the interdisciplinary project at the interface of music, theatre and visual art. The Kunsthalle thus transforms into a stage, the exhibition functions as a synesthetic spectacle. In the course of the show the “Moon Machine” evolves into an installation, throwing off tentacles and connecting with the space at the Kunsthalle. The individual instruments take centre stage as objects and can be examined in detail. In the absence of the two performers, the machine itself becomes an actor. Repeatedly sounding from the machine are a number of sequences the artists have created, picking up on never-played compositions from the late work of Moondog. The individual objects interact with one another much like an ensemble. In the multi-layered combination of sculpture and sound, the acoustic installation opens up new realms of perception.
Supplementing the “Moon Machine”, the Kunsthalle Münster presents exhibits from the estate of Louis Thomas Hardin (aka. Moondog) and several archives. The concept involves tracing back the artists unusual lifepath chronologically from its end—with a special focus on his days in Germany, where he lived from 1974 on. The musical installation and the archive material allow us a special encounter with the work of Moondog, who decisively influenced quite a few very different musicians such as T. Rex, Prefab Sprout, Antony and the Johnsons, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Laurie Anderson, Frank Zappa or Coco Rosie.
Curator: Merle Radtke
Based on the production “Moondogging”. A coproduction by This Machine Kills and the Theater im Pumpenhaus Münster. Supported by the Fonds Darstellende Künste.