still of the night

production, Märzendorfer opens another chapter in the history of instrument destruction, dedicating herself to an instrument that comes with very different (pop)cultural OK Linz, presented in the exhibition Sinnesrausch, 2019
Curators Genoveva Rückert and Kathi Lackner

Music develops in the dimension of time. Ephemerality and transience are central themes in Claudia Märzendorfer’s ice sculptures and videos about the destruction of instruments.

As a radical statement, the performative destruction of a piano has been a staple of art history. When Claudia Märzendorfer dismantles a grand piano, she takes an intently focused rather than a brute-force approach, and the documentation of the process on film lets us see and hear the instrument’s individual lingering resonance. Smashed to pieces, 2018, shows how a complex instrument is transformed into an aggregation of components—loose forms, bereft of all function, lie arrayed on a hardwood floor that, in this context, recalls the preprinted staffs of an empty music sheet. In a new and artistic connotations: the electric guitar, whose destruction is typically a theatrical gesture of masculine violence. She combines the two videos by replaying the sound of the piano dismantling through a guitar amplifier.

Still of the night, 2019.
Text: OK