Playing the Architecture: A Spatial Graphic Notation

Rachel Barron

Rachel Barron's exhibition Playing the Architecture: A Spatial Graphic Notation is a site-specific installation that examines the sonic potential of architectural details in the gallery - from the building’s facade, into it’s interior spaces. In various ways, the artist expands upon the principles of graphic musical notation. In linguistics and semiotics, notation is a system of graphics or symbols, signs and abbreviated expressions, used in artistic and scientific disciplines. Barron's experimental and playful approach allows traditional notes and symbols to be replaced by compositions of colour, line and shape, to visually communicate musical expressions. She makes various reflections on the concept of "the white cube" - an exhibition format, introduced as early as the beginning of the 20th century, which functions to highlight artworks against a neutral framework of white walls. Barron focuses on the many intricate details that are integrated into the gallery’s interior, which incidentally define the space. Her installation frames and activates these existing architectural elements, through a series of sculptural and graphic interventions that span the windows, walls and floor.

Barron’s process is reminiscent of a synesthetic method and recognises a simultaneous sense perception, where two or more senses are interconnected. Some synesthetes can hear colours, others can see sounds. Here Barron translates architectural details into compositions of shape, line and pattern to consider how these abstracted interior elements could be read as music, thus testing their synesthetic potential. After making recurring visits to the gallery, she maps the exact proportions of architectural details to create precise scale drawings. Elements of these drawings are then replicated, deconstructed and manipulated to create balanced and minimalist compositions, typical of Barron’s work. In her graphic notations, she works with different colour strengths and gradients to create a spatial quality, which can then be explored by a visitor or musician, when interpreting the work. The graphic works on paper echo aspects of the installation, based on three distinctive architectural elements from the building’s facade and interior.

During the exhibition, Barron invites four musicians: Elin Piel (Gothenburg SE), Henrik and Jonny Wartel (Gothenburg SE) and Derek Barron (Glasgow UK), to interpret the graphic elements and "play" the space. The exhibition thus presents new interpretations of subtle forms and patterns that are silenced by more dominant aspects within the visual hierarchy. With the help of Barron’s graphic interpretations, the invited musicians translate the architecture into melody, rhythm and harmony to offer new perspectives on how we experience familiar spaces and reimagine their hidden potential through sound.

Rachel Barron (b. Glasgow UK, 1989), is an artist and art educator based in Gothenburg and Vårgårda SE. The exhibition has gratefully received project support from the City of Gothenburg's Project Pronto. Exhibition production in collaboration with Nathan Clydesdale ( Design, Gothenburg SE).
Text by Liv Stoltz

Thursday 3rd June 6pm
Jonny Wartel - Saxophones 
Henrik Wartel - Drums 
HoJ will perform a live interpretation of the current installation, 'Playing the Architecture: A Spatial Graphic Score' by Rachel Barron.
Live streamed from Galleri 54 via instagram @galleri54 

Saturday 19th June 3pm
There will be a streamed artist talk Saturday 19th June at 3pm between Rachel Barron and Johan Forsman (Skogen).
Med stöd av
Projektstöd Pronto