Traces, Nevin Aladag’s latest solo show at WENTRUP, is named for her new 3-channel video work, which is also on view concurrently at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. On three separate projection surfaces, Aladag creates a large-scale sound-and-image portrait of the city of Stuttgart, the place she spent her childhood and adolescence. Here we encounter, for instance, an accordion that plays as it unfolds along the length of a lamppost, or a frame drum that rolls loudly through a park landscape. A flute trills as it sails off into the sky with a balloon; the chestnuts in a chestnut tree play a gong and a violin turns on a merry-go-round.
Traces is fascinating especially in moments of the orchestrated interaction of only partially controllable sounds. Are sound and image coming together here to tell a tale? As surprisingly as a symphonic interplay seems to arise, it disintegrates just as quickly back into cacophony. The artist has neither designed a soundscape of pure noise, nor has she composed an interpretive piece about the city. Rather, Aladag has invented a remarkable hybrid. The most disparate urban situations become the players in an orchestra. Rocking horses in the pedestrian zone and the slopes of vineyards, downhills on the main street and a carousel in a playground constitute the ensemble that, under Aladag’s direction, performs an audio rendition of their city on the accordion, drum, flute and violin – and elicits wholly unexpected possibilities from each classical instrument.
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