Location: Upper Belvedere, Sala terrena
Constantin Luser (born 1976 in Graz, lives and works in Vienna) has devised this year’s Belvedere Christmas tree as a playable sound object to be experienced as an exciting interaction between sculpture and instrument, visual and auditory art. Viewers are invited to produce sounds from the museum’s first interactive Christmas tree.
The complex construction of Luser’s Christmas tree is based on a plucked string instrument. Horizontally spanned strings are connected to pickups and audio systems, amplifying the sounds produced by plucking them so they resonate around the surrounding space. The form and positioning of the speakers inevitably conjures up the association with Christmas presents, arranged here in abundance around the Christmas tree.
The artist has explored the classic construction of instruments in a number of his works and – stretching the limits of what is possible – uses this as a starting point to develop new forms. Central to his work is the idea of an instrument that can be played by a group. Works arising from this notion include Trommeliglu (Drum Igloo, 2007), Molekularorgel (Molecular Organ, 2010), and the Bandoneon Intensivstation (Bandoneon Intensive Care Unit, 2012). Particularly impressive was his ten-meter-long Vibrosaurus (Vibrosaur, 2008), composed of thirty wind instruments, which was created for the 2008 exhibition Clouds of Action at the Belvedere’s Augarten Contemporary.
Luser’s sound sculptures are characterized by their inclusion of the viewer, by crossing the boundaries of time-honored genres in art, and expanding the traditional understanding of sculpture, instrument and music. They are zones of action and interaction in which elements and processes overlap and intensify and making music or sound becomes a participatory, performative act.
This year’s Christmas tree has been realized with the kind support of KWR Karasek Wietrzyk Rechtsanwälte GmbH and BOSE GmbH.
Following works by Gelatin (2010), Fabian Seiz (2011), and Eva Grubinger (2012), the Belvedere is presenting a site-specific sculpture by Vienna-based artist Constantin Luser as this year’s Christmas tree.
The series Belvedere Christmas tree was launched in 2010 by the artist group Gelatin’s four-meter-high flesh-colored sculpture Happy Holidays, positioned like a fifth column between the atlantes in the Sala terrena. Fabian Seiz’s inverted Hang in Tree, suspended undecorated from the ceiling and reflected in a base on the floor, played with viewers’ perception and the usual image of a Christmas tree. In contrast to the first two Belvedere Christmas trees, in 2012 Eva Grubinger’s work burst the dimensions. It comprised an oversized Christmas bauble with a shiny surface that not only reflected the Baroque Sala terrena but also the museum visitors.