Artist Euan Macdonald is best known for video works which often capture everyday fleeting moments that challenge viewers’ expectations of seemingly familiar situations. The artist also maintains an ongoing interest in sound, referencing sheet music and other instruments in his videos.
Euan Macdonald: Open-Tuning, features the recent 9,000 PIECES (2011), a single-channel video shot at a musical instrument manufacturer in Shanghai where high quality pianos are produced for export. The video records the mechanics of the piano being vigorously tested by a factory machine designed to determine their endurance. An exploration of the different meanings of noise, 9,000 Pieces is a sonic tour-de-force that plays with the way we make sense of the world. Euan Macdonald 9,000 PIECES (2011)
The exhibition also includes Ritardando a poco a poco (2011) a transcribed ‘score’ of the testing machine’s cacophonous performance, recorded as a continuous sheet of music measuring over 50ft long. Macdonald worked with a composer to try to notate the soundtrack of 9,000 PIECES. By slowing down the video and looking at the rhythm of the mechanical arms as they bashed the piano keys, the composer was able to arrange these into chord structures. The transcribed ‘score’ of the testing machine will be played in a special live performance by several pianists at the private view on 13 January 2012 at 7:00 pm.
In addition, Open-Tuning features Macdonald’s Brakestand (1999), a video loop depicting a 1970s BMW spinning its wheels and burning rubber — the car furiously going nowhere fast while producing a squealing roar that conjures extreme speed.
Euan Macdonald, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1965, and graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design (Toronto, Canada) in 1988. He has had numerous solo shows in international museums and galleries including Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto; Kunstbunker Kinstverein, Nuremberg; and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. His work is represented in many international collections, including those of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto: The National Gallery of Canada; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Turin; and the New Museum, New York.
9,000 PIECES was commissioned by, and presented at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, in April 2011.