bernhard gál - may 27, 1999: michael vorfeld at the echoraum

it begins in darkness. after some silence one can hear the screwing of a light bulb, subsequently illuminating a limited area of the performance space and part of m.v.¹s face and body. the performer moves on to a different spot of his "stage² to repeat his spatial "incantation² and soon the room is filled with the privacy of soft, damped yellowish light. the floor is covered with cables, switches, etc., surrounding vorfeld¹s various percussion instruments. having reached the intended atmosphere, m.v. now starts playing one of his cymbals with a bow and you can feel how light and sound melt together, emerging into a new definition of space and time. after a while the performer stops playing to change the visual structure, he switches to a structure of blue light bulbs, and then continues his musical performance on another instrument.

michael vorfeld¹s work touches me deeply with its seducing aesthetic beauty and its meditative character. with the physicality and directness of him performing on a high emotional level, too. the simplicity of his light gadgets, be it light bulbs or slide projectors, seems perfectly suitable for his purposes. this visual condition is paralleled by the reductiveness of his music, the sole use of percussion instruments in a sparse, repetitive and very sensual way. for me, his performance is a succession of beautifully arranged, but fragmented scenes, glued together in a minutely choreographed concert where every little movement is needed. on the other hand, i see a certain danger that this accuracy might easily turn into being a bit too predetermined, too scheduled and i can imagine that some space for improvisation, or better more time for a development of the used material could be rewarding, as it may add some organic freshness that i missed in a a tiny bit too well-planned concert.

in that sense, i enjoyed most those moments, when different sound sources overlapped - for instance the sound of a passing airplane, or the rhythm created by the slide projectors, accidental sounds that produced an additional layer to a very beautiful, but for my taste slightly too one-dimensional performance.

bernhard gál, may 29, 1999

ao3 Infoline: Kunsthalle Exnergasse 401 21/42
ao3 Ticketinfo: WUK Kasse 401 21/70 (Mo-Fr 14.00-18.00 Uhr)