Astrid Rieder trans-Art

Greeting to the guests of the Trans Art performance “We are still alive”

Dear guests, welcome to my studio on the occasion of the theatre festival “Die Kunstschleuder”!

Today you will be able to experience the Trans Art performance “We are still alive”.

I will draw to the sounds of the piece “Zerstörung des Zimmers_der Zeit” (“Destruction of the room_of time”) by the Austrian composer Christian Ofenbauer. He is Professor in Harmonic Theory and Counterpoint, and Head of department for Conducting, Composition and Music Theory on the Mozarteum University Salzburg.

What is Trans Art?

Trans Art allows interplay between different art forms like music, literature and the visual arts, which results in an intensified overall experience for the audience.

Why did I choose this particular piece of music?

Through the years of collaboration with various composers and performers I discovered this string quartet and learned that Christian Ofenbauer had written it quasi as a “grounding” for the play „Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald” by Ödon von Horvarth.

Almost simultaneously with my encounter of this “grounding”, the planning phase of the theatre festival “Die Kunstschleuder” with the intended name “We are still alive” started.

That a composer should use the term “grounding” which belongs to the area of painting fascinated me as a Trans Art artist.

The grounding of a canvas for a certain painting technique is the basis for every painting. Ungrounded canvasses are porous, highly absorbent, swallow a lot of color and thus complicate working with it. To eliminate these disadvantages the canvas has to be sealed and made impermeable. A light grounding also intensifies the brightness of a painting.

The grounding should be applied two to three times with long drying phases in between. In the end, the grounded canvas is stretched tight once again, if needed.

The famous Baroque painters Rembrandt and Rubens used colored groundings. Thus, Rembrandt preferred, for example, a dark brown grounding, which gives his paintings a dark and warm radiance, while Rubens favored white gypsum grounding with a light blue-grey glazing.

All of this was a challenge for me, and I started to plan building a performance on Christian Ofenbauer’s grounding: The string quartet is called „Zerstörung des Zimmers_der Zeit“. This title is the same as of a story on First World War deserters by Bertold Brecht. In the 80s, Christian Ofenbauer and the Ensemble angelus Novus Wien had worked with this story and created an audio tape installation.

In 1999 the stage director Lutz Graf asked him if he would compose music for the production of the piece „Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald” at the Schauspielhaus Graz. Thinking of Berthold Brecht’s story he wrote the string quartet titled „Zerstörung des Zimmers_der Zeit“. He used it as grounding, meaning that the sounds were audible throughout the whole theatre performance.