Melodies of Certain Damage (Opus 2)

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Faena Art presented last week Melodies of Certain Damage (Opus 2), an immersive sculptural and site-sensitive sonic installation and performance conceived by artist Naama Tsabar.

Tsabar creates experiential, sculptural, sonic installations that explore questions of power, eroticism, gender and memory. Her sensually driven installations, performances, and sculptures address the implicit gender roles and coded behavior of music and nightlife. Tsabar appropriates and subverts the aggressive gestures of rock and roll and their associations with virility and power.

For the Faena Art Center Buenos Aires Tsabar has created a site-specific environment, curated by Zoe Lukov, that tunes the entire Sala Molinos. “Naama repurposes the remnants of an act of male bravado, and ultimately of a kind of violence. The death of the object becomes the starting point of the new project. The works are maps for the memory of the damage and ultimately a proposition for a new instrument and a suggestion for moving towards new creation.”

The work was activated by a number of women and gender nonconforming musicians and performers and will respond to the particular musical context of Buenos Aires by placing international and local musicians in conversation.

Naama Tsabar commented, “Melodies of Certain Damage (Opus 2) at the Faena Art Center in Buenos Aires will be my first exhibition in Argentina, as well as my first big scale installation of this new project. As part of the project I will be collaborating with local female and non-binary musicians in composing a new unique performance for this specific sculptural installation in the Faena. It is especially exciting for me to collaborate with the local creative scene, together we will write the works into a new gendered history.”

Tsabar’s work underlines the way in which a venue for performance may function as a structure of power. In this case, her refusal to engage with the monumentality of the Sala Molinos is a transgressive act that encourages sensuality and intimacy with the installation and with the performance. Appropriating the iconic and overtly macho trope of smashing the guitar, Naama repurposes the remnants of an act of violence, reimagining the broken pieces as objects of visual and functional significance, highlighting the pieces by inserting them back into a working order, making them instruments in their own right. The once iconic object now turns into a field of scattered pieces, transforming the held instrument into a new territory for the performer to insert themselves. This sculptural installation and performance is a seductive and subversive work that encourages a new mode for public engagement with sculpture and sound.

Melodies of Certain Damage (Opus 2) was composed during a one-week residency in Buenos Aires with two of Tsabar’s long time collaborators, Rose Blanshei and Sarah Strauss, and six Buenos Aires-based musicians, Gabriela Areal, Florencia Curci, Violeta García, Luciana Rizzo, Natalia Spiner, and Carola Zelaschi. The installation is activated by the performers at certain moments throughout the length of the exhibition but is also interactive and can be touched and played by members of the public. The exhibition will open to the public the weekend of Art Basel Cities: Buenos Aires in September.