Nevin Aladağ – Body Instruments

09.09.2021, 17:00

The performance starts at 5 pm at the Tinguely Museum Boat at the Nizzawerft and moves from there along the banks of the Main river via the Römerberg to the Frankfurter Kunstverein. The performance will continue there from 7:30 pm.

“Body Instruments” interprets the classical and folk instruments on the body of the musician in a wilful manner that is perpetually in motion and never quiet.
(Nevin Aladağ)

In the performance Body Instruments (2021), Nevin Aladağ continues her interest in instrumental interventions. A performer wears specially produced musical instruments on their body as they move through the urban realm. The instruments – two accordions, bells and a percussion instrument, which is worn on the head – are played as a result of the motion of the body. Even basic movements such as walking, turning the head or raising and lowering the arms produce musical sounds. Thus enhanced, the body itself becomes an instrument. And movement and the creation of sound become inseparable.

On the one hand, the work refers to such art-historical traditions as the modern avant-garde and Oskar Schlemmer’s Das Triadische Ballett (1919–1922), whose playful approach to geometrical forms in connection with dance and performance was first discovered by the artist in the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart during her time as a student. The references to performance in the 1970s are equally important. Certain aspects of Aladağ’s work, in particular the accordions, which fold out in a manner reminiscent of wings, and the rainmaker’s hat, which demands a sense of equilibrium and a mastery of the body, allude to Rebecca Horn’s body instruments (e.g. Weisser Körperfächer, Balancestab, both 1972). The questions addressed by Horn’s works vis-à-vis the relationship between bodies and movement and the potential of sculptural extensions to the body are followed up by Body Instruments, particularly in terms of sound. Body Instruments owes its topicality and conciseness to the fact that Aladağ applies these art-historical approaches and formal languages, while simultaneously interweaving them with levels of historical and social meaning. For example, the work refers to the richly diverse tradition of making music in public, which stretches from the wearing of bells by medieval jesters and fairy tales involving ratcatchers, via sacred and profane processional customs to modern street music. And the figure of the busker also invokes questions of social status and of how society negotiates the use of the public realm. With its bells, accordions and two different forms of drum, the performance combines instruments drawn from a range of temporal and spatial contexts. The common factor shared by these instruments is that they are all found beyond the confines of western classical music. Played together, they thus create a piece of experimental music that achieves a balance between the essential sounds generated by actions such as walking and the more poetic ones that result from consciously chosen movements.

About the artist

The artist Nevin Aladağ (*1972), who has been living in Berlin since 2002, uses sculpture, video and photography for her works. She creates performances and sculptural installations in museums as well as in public spaces. Aladağ grew up in Stuttgart. She studied sculpture with Olaf Metzel at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich from 1993 to 2000. Her works have recently been shown in solo exhibitions at the Lehmbruck Museum Duisburg (2021), the Museum of Modern Art San Francisco (2020), and the Hayward Gallery, London (2020), among others. Aladağ’s work received special attention, in particular, through her participation in 2017 in documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel and the 57th Venice Biennale. In 2017, the artist received the Ernst Rietschel Art Prize for Sculpture in Dresden.

Venue: The performance starts at the Tinguely Museum Ship and moves from the Nizzawerft over the Römerberg to the Frankfurter Kunstverein. At about 7:30 pm another part of the performance will take place in front of the Frankfurter Kunstverein.
Date: Thursday, September 9, 5 pm Nizzawerft, 7:30 pm Frankfurter Kunstverein
Admission: free
Pre-registration via

Commissioned by Museum Tinguely, Basel as part of Museum Tinguely AHOY!
Concept and choreography: Nevin Aladağ
Performers: Przemek Kamiński, Darko Radosavljev
Curator, Museum Tinguely: Dr Sandra Beate Reimann
Production Manager: Attila Gaspar