biography | construction of instruments | noise | sound | composition | sculpture | timeline

catalog 'Urban Rituals, The Sound Artist Christof Schläger'
V. Sculpture

Through the three-dimensional architecture of his sound installations, Christof Schläger's music also has a sculptural component. As one can walk around a sculpture and view it from different viewpoints so the listening experience of his music, too, changes as one moves around. Esthetic impression is also an important facet of Schläger's sound machines and even though their sound may be the principal purpose the sculptural quality of the devices have their own value. And although the artist is mainly oriented on the usefulness of the instruments in relation to sound, he has always an eye on their optical effect as well.

Sound Machines: Federine, Flatterbaum und Standzeit

Perhaps this is shown most strikingly in one his earliest machines, Federine. The supporting structure of Federine is in the form of a steep pyramid and as such it embodies a classical motif of architectonic iconography. Almost tenderly, Schläger mounted metal springs, wires, and rods to the pyramid. In the process a sculpture reminiscent of a human form emerged the visual aspect of which is in no way secondary to its function as a sound generator. Both the tonal and the technological aspect are based in technology yet represent the foundation on which other levels are enabled to come into being; in fact Federine reveals quite non-technical characteristics of Schläger's work: an infatuation with detail, a sense of playfulness, and a trace of humor. A similar example is Brauser. Motors fitted with synthetic foils have been mounted on tall poles, when activated, the foils gyrate generating soft whistling and swishing sounds. Several of these poles each standing a little more than head-height and close together form the appearance of a tree-like sculptural form, which like the elements of Federine, reveal the artist's tendency toward filigreed and fragile structures.

Sound Machines: Klapperrappel, Knackdosen und Telewald

Christof Schläger references different esthetic signatures to painting, forms, and statures, which have their origin in modern art movements. The technical affinity of his sound machines references Futurism with its glorification of technology and Cubism with its angular, interlocking forms. Schläger's constructions are also slightly reminiscent of sculptures by Alexander Calder and Yves Tinguely. Like Calder, Schläger designs his sculptures with clear geometric forms which often appear to be curvaceously broken and through their movements and trembling in play evade technological geometry. Tinguely inspired the color components of his sound machines. And although color forms only a subtle element, it essentially characterizes the optical experience.

Sound Machines: Schellenbaum, Sirenen und Knister

Suggestions of Surrealism can be found in the synergy of the forms, especially, when one examines the details of the sound machines: the interconnections and tangles of small motors, specifically formed dowels and anchors, multi-colored wires and cables, compressor hoses, rods and mounts, which often resemble the extremities of insects. Finally, one discovers references to the genre of science fiction with fantasy figures that get out of hand and relieve Schläger's objects of their further technological bond contributing essentially to their enigmatic impact.

source: Urban Rituals, The Soundartist Christof Schläger. Verlag Hanno Ehrler, 2016