press release

Cevdet Erek
Bergama Stereo
Architectural construction with sound & performance program
October 19, 2019–March 8, 2020

In Bergama Stereo, an architectural installation with sound, the Istanbul-based artist and musician Cevdet Erek references the form, the historically attributed function, and the reception of the Pergamon Altar, now located in Berlin, and creates a new interpretation of the famous Hellenistic edifice, which dates back to the second century BC. Bergama is the Turkish name for the ancient city of Pergamon as well as the contemporary city and district in the province of Izmir. The famous gigantomachy frieze of the altar, whose fragments were transported to Berlin at the end of the 19th century from its original location in today's Western Turkey, is interpreted with a 34-channel sound composition that fills the space. Here, sound assumes the central role that visual elements play in the original altar, creating a multi-dimensional narrative. The sculptural frieze is replaced by a large loudspeaker frieze that projects a composition into the space via 34 separate loudspeaker channels. In analogy to the fragmentary remnants of the original Pergamon frieze and its supporting elements, which were reconstructed from archeological finds, active loudspeakers alternate with empty loudspeaker casings.

The new acoustic frieze interprets and transforms the depictions in the historic frieze in multiple ways: The battle of the Olympian Gods with the underground giants, who rebelled against their rule, is interpreted through multi-channel, spatialized sounds indicative of various present-day struggles, enabling the audience to experience them in a novel, abstract mode. It has aesthetical responses to last decades' electronic music and club culture in Berlin as well as to specific instruments like the bass drum davul and dance rhythms of the Bergama region.

The exhibition marks the 20th anniversary of the series “Works of Music by Visual Artists” and is accompanied by a performance program as an integral component of the presentation. The program picks up on themes and structural aspects of the architecture such as symmetry, balance, contradiction and struggle, as well as content-related aspects such as the striking description of the Pergamon Altar in "The Aesthetics of Resistance" by Peter Weiss.