The Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum Cologne has accompanied me in my development since my studies in Ethnomusicology. At that time, I was playing in the Gamelan Orchestra-Insrumentarium in the old building at Ubierring. As a free-lance musician I then played frequently in the new Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum and with the intercultural music and dance happening “MITUMBA”.
Since then, my ethnomusical and and musical approach has expanded to include aspects of sound and performance art: space as a carrier for musical, artistic, action has itself become, for me, a (music) Instrument. From this perspective, the foyer of the new Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, through the clarity of its architect and the thrilling acoustic it produces has intrigued and captivated me since it has opened. This space has a large aura that warrants closer study and understanding when one moves artistically in it.
The photos show my location and work in the back of the Foyer area, in the glassy bureau wing, with the elevators and on a mobile performance stage. Playing the space, while doing justice to its characteristics and staying open in conversation with it — that is the exciting challenge. The space is an acteur who’s actions decidedly shape us.
Photos by Roberto Manzi
These window streaks are from a duo Mertin Niznik performance with rapiers. I like the imprint and the “proof” of the action just taken. It’s like drawing without drawing, yet somehow always having the imprint in mind during performance.
In the meantime, I think of the sound but the visual imprint is present and also important somehow – a tension: when playing and after, after the performance is over and reverberates.
© 2020 Holger Maik Mertin. All rights reserved.