We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of New South Wales stands.

Sol LeWitt: Resonances

Two people sit in front of musical equipment, opposite each other, while people watch on in a gallery with a red and purple painted wall.

JWPATON and Chuck Johnson perform in front of Sol LeWitt’s Wall drawing #955, Loopy Doopy (red and purple) 2000 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 31 August 2022

Three new musical works bring 2D-artworks to new life through the experience of durational listening.

American visual artist Sol LeWitt was an avid collector of music, from contemporary experimental music to American jazz and European classical forms. He conceived many of his artworks as sets of instructions that could be executed by others, and compared these to musical scores that could be remade by different people and exist in more than one place at the same time.

For Sol LeWitt: Affinities and Resonances, three newly commissioned musical works have been composed in response to LeWitt’s Wall drawing #955, Loopy Doopy (red and purple), an enormous artwork installed in the John Kaldor Family Hall on the ground level of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Each of the new musical compositions has been developed collaboratively by an American musician and an Aboriginal musician: Chuck Johnson and JWPATON; Steve Gunn and amby downs; and Claire Rousay and E Fishpool.

Each composition interprets Loopy Doopy (red and purple) as an alternative form of musical notation. They also echo paintings by Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Gloria Tamerre Petyarre, displayed on the wall opposite Loopy Doopy (red and purple), which convey the stories of the artists’ Anmatyerr Country, revealing the pulses and rhythms of the desert on canvas.

Created through the digital ether and across land and sea, each musical work will be performed live at the Art Gallery by the international collaborators, and is also available online via Longform Editions.

A large wall with purple looping lines on a red background. An arched doorway leads into a gallery filled with paintings and sculptures.

Installation view of Sol LeWitt Wall drawing #955, Loopy Doopy (red and purple) 2000 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales © Estate of Sol LeWitt/ARS, Copyright Agency

A dense patterning of overlapping yellow and brownish-red lines on a brownish-red background

Emily Kame Kngwarreye Untitled 1995, private collection, Sydney © Estate of Emily Kame Kngwarreye / Copyright Agency

A person sits on the ground outdoors

amby downs

A person sits on a grassy hillside

Steve Gunn

Two people wearing caps and glasses

JWPATON and Chuck Johnson

A short-haired person sits indoors at a control panel, almost silhouetted against a window

E Fishpool

A person with chin-length hair sits on some stairs

Claire Rousay

Chuck Johnson and JWPATON

Sonic, physical and expansive, Tangled mirror yarn by Chuck Johnson and JWPATON is a swirling, anamorphic shift of euphoric distortions and clustered orchestral swells and peaks. The 36-minute track features electric guitar, pedal steel guitar, Ableton, treatments and digital orchestration.

JWPATON is a Yuin musician based in Darug Country, Western Sydney. He uses alternative sounds and field recordings from both the natural and the human-made worlds to create a rich, time-stretched padded ambience.

Chuck Johnson is a composer from Oakland, California. He works with faults and instabilities in composition that might reveal latent beauty. He performs with a focus on pedal steel guitar, experimental electronics, and alternate tuning systems, and composes for film and television.

Chuck Johnson and JWPATON perform at the Art Gallery in the John Kaldor Family Hall on Wednesday 31 August 2022, 8pm.

Steve Gunn and amby downs

Granular synthesis collides with organic ambience and instrumentation in Looming change / Building fabric by Steve Gunn and amby downs. The piece builds gently to unveil kaleidoscopic alien sonic terrains. There are subtle moments of fragility that at times edge towards a blurred singularity. Over 40 minutes, it slips and slides with melody and soft rhythms built from the natural and urban worlds. The track features electric guitar, acoustic guitar, effects, digital processing and field recordings.

Tahlia Palmer is an artist and musician of Murri and European descent. Her musical project, amby downs, explores history, identity and connection to Country through layers of distorted noise, cavernous reverberations and field recordings.

Steve Gunn, a New York–based musician with a career spanning nearly 15 years, has produced volumes of critically acclaimed solo, duo and ensemble recordings. His albums represent milestones of contemporary guitar-driven material and forward-thinking songwriting. He has steadily processed his inspirations into a singular, virtuosic stream. Close listening reveals the influence of all kinds of sounds, images and words in his continually unfolding output.

Steve Gunn and amby downs perform at the Art Gallery in the John Kaldor Family Hall on Wednesday 19 October 2022, 8pm.

Claire Rousay and E Fishpool

In Distance therapy, E Fishpool and Claire Rousay explore the softness of the 2D artworks and their sense of movement, with subtly glitched rhythms and wavy synth textures. Much like the undulating lines of Loopy Doopy (red and purple), the sounds collide and collapse, almost falling in on each other as they reveal both familiar and new sonics. Built from the natural and urban worlds, the 20-minute track features voice recordings, field recordings, effects and digital processing.

Claire Rousay is based in Los Angeles, California. Her music zeroes in on personal emotions and the minutiae of everyday life – voicemails, haptics (feedback through touch), environmental recordings, stopwatches, whispers and conversations – exploding their significance.

E Fishpool is a Budawang artist based across Budawang and Walbanja Country. Their work maps processes of unlearning and (re)learning identity through sampling sound, dialect and field recordings.

Claire Rousay and E Fishpool perform at the Art Gallery in the John Kaldor Family Hall on Wednesday 7 December 2022, 8pm.

Sol LeWitt: Affinities and Resonances is a collaboration between Kaldor Public Art Projects and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.