As always, before a new exhibition, we gather some questions from our team members for a written interview. For this month, we decided to interview the musicians and the participating artist. This time we’ve had a great pleasure of interviewing the talented Tamar Halperin, Guy Sternberg, and Daniel M Thurau.
Enjoy your read, and see you soon at FRAMED#30 🙂
Tamar Halperin & Guy Sternberg
Tamar, you have an eclectic career that puts you at the top of the calico music scene but also with collaborations with some of the world’s leading jazz musicians. What attracted you to get out of the classical world in your different projects?
Already as a child I have been very interested in all kinds of music. Although I was trained as a classical pianist and devoted a lot of time to studying the classical repertoire, I spent countless hours listening to recordings and live performances of pop, rock, jazz, electro, and other non-classical music.
My musical curiosity also defined, to some extent, the musicians I later became friends with, many of whom shared similar interests. This eventually led to the kind of musical collaborations that I am very grateful for having had. In the end: all music is music.
Tamar and Guy, in this collaboration with you are using live electronics to affect and transform the sound of the piano, mostly over well-known pieces by Erik Satie. What made you think this music needs/deserve this kind of treatment? What were you hoping to achieve with it?
There is no question in my mind that Satie’s music stands very well on its own. In its original version, it has been played and listened to and cherished by many generations. My intention was never to “improve” Satie’s compositions by adding ingredients of my own, but rather to pay tribute to this wonderful, unusual, marvelously peculiar composer. As an aesthetic guideline, I posed myself the question: “How would Satie’s music have sounded, had it been composed today?”
130 years after its compositions, Satie’s music is still so fresh and so contemporary in its style, that it lends itself very easily to electronic manipulation and arrangement. I was hoping to augment the effect that was already in the music, and to underline its relevance, without taking away from the magic that originally and effortlessly characterizes it.
Tamar and Guy, how does the interaction between you two change the way you play? Is there any freedom with the scores for example? Are you influenced by each other’s choices during the performance and in what way?
It is in the nature of my relationship with Guy to discuss music and share our ideas and thoughts about it. From the very beginning of our friendship, already as teenagers at the music school in Tel Aviv, I have learned a lot from Guy’s way of experiencing music and have been inspired by him. Our music-making together is an ongoing dialogue.
In this project, almost all of Guy’s part is open to improvisation. On stage, I listen and react to what he does. Often it means that I must improvise in order to complete a musical idea that he started. Or vice versa.
Daniel M Thurau
Your recent paintings feature such icons as king David, Adam and Eve, and even Christ himself. How did you come to that?
In 2013/2014 I developed a new kind of technique using pure pigment and an oil-turpentine-siccative mixture that allowed me to paint faster. In the following 4 or 5 years, I’ve been practicing it excessively by painting mostly landscapes and still-lives. And while doing so I always had the plan or felt the need to come back to figurative painting again. But I didn’t want to go back to the themes I dealt with before, I wanted to take a risk and step back from your average contemporary themes, every day, the ephemere so to speak.
I sense a more severe, sober tone in them. Your previous paintings had more of a dreamy atmosphere of longing, but now it feels more acute. Is this a sign of the times? Or a personal process?
As long as you’re in the process of making as an artist you better not know what you’re doing. But once you’re finished and ready for the world to see what you’ve done, it’s time for analyzing. I wouldn’t go so far to say these paintings are a sign of the times but I painted them in personally uneasy times and of course, I am sensitive for what’s going on in my larger environment. So maybe I exchanged my dreamy utopian atmosphere for something more obliging.
The situations seem up to date, your manner is not historical, but rather personal. It is not like they visit our time, it is more as if our time is visiting them. European painting is quite saturated with these stories, in fact, until not so long ago it was all about that. You bravely go back to it, and you handle it in a non-sentimental yet non-cynical way, how do you see it?
Like you said for at least 800 years almost all western European painting was about illustrating or educating religious ideas and dogmas and I guess it’s a challenge you can’t win when you want to deal with it now in figurative painting. But it’s been done here and there again and more or less successfully and although we are all enlightened, the Bible or the book of the Thora, if you like, provide us with some deeper truths that will never be outdated.
It’s not only about love and hate and war, it’s about being chosen and challenged individually, is about kings and prophets, mothers and maiden that are by no means superheroes but human beings that try and struggle, cheat and fail. And that in a way became my angle. I tried to depict them rather psychological than theological, a very contemporary idea I guess