press release

Opening reception Thursday December 11th, from 6 to 8 pm

The DUDION LEVERS is the fruit of the collaboration between the multimedia artist, self proclaimed director of behavior Michael Portnoy and Oliver Sudden—engineer, tinkerer, and former opera singer, as well as the nephew of the famous French writer Boris Vian. A long time admirer of Boris Vian, fascinated by Vian's fruitfull imagery, and his creation within the College of Pataphysique, Portnoy began to exchange thoughts and comments with Sudden on his uncle's inventions after meeting in Europe last year. A few months ago Oliver Sudden discovered in Vian's archives sketches for a vocal "power tool" that would transform the voice into a massive orchestral unisound, which is then imprinted upon or inscribed on objects, or in some cases transforms or forms objects in the vicinity. The "brain" of this instrument were "the dudion levers", a constellation of resonating glyphs. Now retired from the a rt scene, Sudden used to be a famous tenor in the 70's before a vocal cord cancer brutally stopped his career. Hence, he asked Michael Portnoy to give the instrument his voice.  The central piece of the show will be the first time exhibition and use of THE INSTRUMENT, with which Michael Portnoy will perform the night of the opening. Portnoy will expose a series of objects titled ACCOUTREMENTS, conceived by the THE INSTRUMENT with songs created by the artist. 

Michael Portnoy, an enigmatic troublemaker of the New York art scene burst into popular consciousness in 1998 when he, breaking from his routine as back up dancer, ran shirtless across the stage of the Grammy Awards while Bob Dylan performed the song "Love Sick." Portnoy gyrated near the singer with the words "Soy Bomb" strewn across his chest until security guards, realizing he was not part of Dylan's act removed the unpredictable artist. 

Since then, Portnoy established himself worldwide working with artists, choreographers and musicians. PS1/Moma, Art Unlimited Basel art fair, The Kitchen, The Kunsthalle Basel are among many international museums and artspace who invited Michael Portnoy to display is very unique investigation of the poetics of humor, the dynamic of social exchange and the rules of communication and play.

only in german

Michael Portnoy: THE DUDION LEVERS