Art & Statement: After Relâche & 3 Billie Jeans by Harrison Haynes
Haynes’ installation After Relâche is a set piece for a theater in which no performance ever occurs. The proscenium frame of the stage is constructed with photos, printed at life size, and then cut out to create a trompe l’oeil effect. The photos depict objects culled from band rehearsal spaces and art studios. Draped swaths of painted canvas and sections of convoluted foam appear to pile up or hover in masses above a matrix of aluminum work lamps. At center stage of this photographic frame is a void, a blank wall.
After Relâche uses Francis Picabia and Eric Satie’s modernist ballet Relâche, 1924, as a jumping off point. The title, in French, translates as “canceled.”
Accompanying this installation, Haynes and collaborators Laura King and Hisham Akira Bharoocha perform a new, live performance work with drum sets titled 3 Billie Jeans. The performance score hinges on the repetition of a single drum beat, recognizable as the opening bars of Michael Jackson’s 1983 hit single ‘Billie Jean.’ The drummers play the unwavering beat in rounds, resulting in a shifting cycle of accompanied and solo versions of the pattern over the period of half an hour.
For this work, the drummers are separated, each situated within one of a series of triangular niches along the facade of the main gallery wing. This isolation of the individual drummers provides a variety of ways, both visual and acoustic, for viewers to experience the performance. Outdoors, the report of each drum note will refract off architectural surfaces, resulting in delayed reverberation. From inside the gallery, the sound will refract, with potentially cacophonous results. 3 Billie Jeans proposes points of unity and conflict between the disciplines of music and visual art.
– Harrison Haynes
Harrison’s work will be on view at SECCA, 750 Marguerite Drive,
Winston-Salem, NC, through January 17th, 2016.
Acid Rain’s Art & Statement series places artwork alongside the artists own words in an effort to distribute and promote artists’ writings and a greater understanding of contemporary processes and ideas.