two sadnesses must be invoked: one that this talented sound | installation artist has been in a coma since the end of 2011, when he fell victim to a hit-and-run incident. the other is that this short review will not do justice to his work, soundless as this is, strange as it seemed to me to have to take videos of work that required i strum my fingers through string and touch balls. yes, it’s as fun and strange as it sounds.
and yes, as with all the installations here, THAT is attached to an amp, and is surprisingly a functional instrument, the kind one imagines would play fantastic music were it in the right hands.
those hands aren’t mine. and maybe that is precisely the point. as spectator, my distance to these assemblages are clear: i will not see a guitar and pick it up, will not have the urge to strum on those strings. as spectator, i know to stay distant from the art in front of me, working with the sense that it cannot be touched, it can only be seen. but Salvador’s work defies that.
from afar the assemblages are scary things, stainless steel, larger than life, but also cold. and then you touch them and find that not only are these instruments that might be played, each one sounds and feels different: some strings thicker and more unconventional than others, some parts making sounds beyond those strings, every sound intentional and planned and exactly the point.
that the experience of sound cannot be removed from the manner in which each assemblage is built, allows for the experience of sound to also be necessarily about the way each assemblage looks, where it is detail that matters (the use of forks and spoons, bike and guitar parts, bowls and saucers), and the symmetry seems like necessary part of the creative process. but too there’s just discipline here, how to know when to stop, how to acknowledge that something’s enough.
you will get over the strangeness and find that all of it — found objects and assemblage and the fact of cold stainless steel, all — actually surprisingly work at creating a sense of music, not one that needs to be played, but one that is about measure and harmony, and ultimately and strangely (still), it’s about quiet, too.
which is to say you must go see it at the Vargas Museum. it’s one of those exhibits that demand experience, that demand senses beyond the visual (though that can be said of much of art, but that might just be me imagining that even the quiet of a gallery must mean something).