wood, leather, metal, computer (first punched tape)
pneumatic system, whistles, percussion
190 x 61 x 56 cm
Los Angeles County Museum, Gift of the Kleiner Foundation
wood, leathercovered foam rubber, computer (formerly punched tape)
pneumatic system, percussion
120 x 90 x 75 cm
Collection Nancy Reddin Kienholz, Hope, Idaho
two-piece construction made of wood, washboard, cymbal, gong,
cowbell, harmonium, blowers, wood, leather, metal parts,
computer (formerly punched tape), pneumatic system
220 x 77 x 44 cm
Private collection Düsseldorf
three-piece wooden structure on base, leather, drum,
cymbal, tongues, xylophone, blowers, lights, computer
214 x 244 x 122 cm
Museum Ludwig, Köln
(formerly collection Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, Hope, Idaho)
1969 – 70
Group of five sculptures
wood, organ pipes, metal parts, blower, light, computer
Even very early, Stephan von Huene was interested in the culture of the Northwest Coast Natives and their carved totem poles, which are used in the context of traditional ceremonies. Masks and the heads and bodies of animals are sculpted from wood and piled up one on top of the next. Von Huene’s organ pipe sculptures share an affinity with these totems poles, which strive into the heights, but in his works, and through the tones, these mute, powerfully expressive totems enter into a sonorous partnership that is authenticated through alliteration; this is related to von Huene’s concept of sculpture as a gesamtkunstwerk.
The tone is modified by a movable upper lip, a flap over the upper pipe and a hole in the side of the smaller pipe. The work plays either once for 3 minutes or continuously.
two pieces, glass, metal, wood box,
fan, mechanics, glass housing
each 150 x 30 x 30 cm
Petra von Huene, Hamburg
(For technical reasons,
the work can no longer be reconstructed.)
“My sculpture Glass Pipes parallels the concerns of Leo Tolstoy in his story of ‘The Death of Ivan Ilyich’ and also the experience of Edvard Munch in his painting ‘The Scream’. Glass Pipes is a musical version of just such a scream.”
Drum I, 1974/75
plexiglass drum with 32 hammers, electro-pneumatic system
Collaboration with composer James Tenney.
There are programmed 3 pieces:
Wake for Charles Ives, Popcorn Effect, Tempest
Ø 160 cm, Höhe 91,5 cm
destroyed / merged into Drum II (S 1992–1)
Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum Foundation, Duisburg
Following a number of technical alterations, Drum is today equipped with a sensor that triggers its playing through the viewer’s approach. It can however also be turned on manually. The entire technical equipment is concealed in the base beneath the drum itself.
“I started working in 1961 as a painter and slowly moved toward sculpture and object making. By 1964 I have drifted even further, towards the use of electrical, and pneumatic devices in my sculpture/objects. As electronics and home computers developed, along with my history of development as an artist, I brought these newer technologies into my work in a natural matter of fact way.
1964 is also the year when I integrated sound into the visual/tactile objects to make them more complete. This concern with the tactile (kinesthetic) auditory, and visual relations and synesthesia thereof has remained as an integral part of my work until today. Drum points specifically in a direction from the kinesthetic object towards nothing (through its transparancy). This nothing is the point/edge upon which the synesthesia acts. This is the edge that joins between object and sound. I worked with the composer James Tenney who composed three pieces specifically for this sculpture.”
(Excerpt from ARTEC 93. The 3rd International Biennale in Nagoya, Nagoya, Japan 1993, p. 11; see also: exhib. cat. Stephan von Huene: Tune the World. Die Retrospektive, Ostfildern 2002, p. 200)
Drum was commissioned in 1974 by Frank Oppenheimer for his museum, the Exploratorium in San Francisco. In 1992, Stephan von Huene bought it back and rebuilt it.
aluminum, wooden base, mechanics, lifting magnets, formerly tape
(after the technical adjustment: sensors, computer)
each 138 x 138 x 20 cm
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Galerie der Gegenwart
Four-part sound sculpture
wood, metal, computers, solenoids, organ components, lighting
(no fixed composition, the visitor determines the sequence
of sounds by sensor activation)
two sculptures ca. 200 x 40 x 55 cm,
two sculptures 190 x 40 x 55 cm
Petra von Huene, Hamburg
My Zauberflöte, which consists of four objects, utilizes only […] the characteristic frequencies in the vowels. In making use of the libretto [of Schikaneder in Mozart’s “Zauberflöte”] as my basic material I have reduced German vowels to six basic evenly spaced phonetic sounds. […] The text is analyzed for the sequence of vowels used, then fitted into the schema and played on the objects in their characteristic frequencies. This, if Henry Lance is correct, is the hidden subjective melody inherent in the text. In other words: perhaps one would not need another music.
The instruments within the four objects are associated with the instruments in the opera in that the organ pipes relate to the flute and the metallophone/xylophone relate to the glockenspiel – which are the two magic instruments. The metal organ pipes further relate to the singers in that they are the type called ‘vox humana'” (exhib. cat. Stephan von Huene: Tune the World. Die Retrospektive, Ostfildern 2002, p. 233, 235).
(see also Mind Maps, D 1991-11.)
wood, mechanical parts, compressor, computer ,
speakers, sensor, sound material for about 1 hour
(3 min each cycle, 1 min pause;
without visitors every 3 min a cycle of 10 sec.)
Ca. 200 x 120 x 120 cm
Sprengel Museum, Hannover
Dancing on Tables
Ensemble of four individual sculptures on wooden pedestals and 14 drawings
metal, computer, mechanics, compressor, fiberglass, pants, shoes, lighting
a) sculpture with forward and backward movement of the swing leg
(brown trousers), 200 x 80 x 50 cm
b ) Sculpture with lateral movement of the swing leg
(black trousers), 200 x 80 x 50 cm
c ) sculpture with diagonal movement of the swing leg
(gray trousers), 200 x 80 x 50 cm
d ) sculpture with dance-like movements
(no trousers), 275 x 70 x 40 cm
Drawings on canvas: each 170 x 115 cm
Museum für Neue Kunst, ZKM, Karlsruhe
Dancing on Tables has its precursor in Tap Dancer. Three of the half-figures wear men’s pants and shoes, and move to speeches by American politicians (General Eisenhower, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Jesse Jackson).
The fourth, unclothed dancer, standing on its base, moves to arias from “The Pearl Fishers” by Bizet and Händel’s “Rinaldo.”
14 large-format drawings, which are bordered on both sides with the kind of material used in making men’s suits, hang behind the sculptures. When the sculptures are set into motion, this triggers a triple, staggered optical effect, from the sculptures, to the shadows they cast, to the drawings on the wall.
Audio material (each lasting 1.5 min.) for the three clothed figures:
Audio material (2.5 min.) for the unclothed figures: excerpts from Georg Friedrich Händel’s “Rinaldo” and Georges Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers.”
(The triggering by the viewer of the individual sculpture is a component of the work, pauses last 3 min., each activation is followed by a brief dance movement.)
From Understanding the Misunderstanding to Misunderstanding the Understandable
Installation of three wooden towers, each with eight rectangular wooden pipes and 27 (formerly 30 ) plates
wood, organ components, computer, speakers, sensors, bells
Towers, each about 357 x 50 x 50 cm,
Tablets, each 100 x 70 x 4.7 cm,
voice: Pastor Ottfried Jordahn
the work includes four mind map drawings,
1999 pencil on paper, each 21 x 29,7 cm
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin,
Hermann von Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik
Resounding from the three towers are biblical texts on the Tower of Babel (Moses 1:11) in Ancient Greek, Hebrew, and German. The panels have built-in sensors that emit a piercing ringing sound when anyone passes.
|(see also Mind Maps, D 1991-13.)|
The New Lore Ley
model for a sculpture on the terrace of the Museum Ludwig, 1990
Museum Ludwig, Köln
In 1986, Stephan von Huene was invited to propose a sculptural work for the terrace of the new Museum Ludwig in Cologne. He chose the motif of the Lorelei, whose home is the Rhine River, and who was made world famous by the song with the text of Heinrich Heine. Here, the double seduction of the combing of the hair and the bewitching song was intended to lure potential museum visitors into the building. A full-sized model, set up on the museum terrace, was greeted with emphatic and unanimous acclaim. But when it came to the work’s realization, the responsible parties vanished, just like the fishermen in Heinrich Heine’s Lorelei ballad. Produced in 1997 were 10 computer drawings (D/C 1998-1–10) and the kinetic model on an iron base, today in the collection of the Stiftung “Brandenburger Tor” in the Max Liebermann Haus in Berlin.
Foundation “Brandenburger Tor”, Max Liebermann Haus, Berlin
The Man from Jüterbog
half figure on pedestal, computer, air compressor,
speakers, pants, shoes, drum
Text by Reinhard Lettau, spoken by himself
Hamburger Bahnhof, Nationalgalerie, Berlin
“The story of The Man from Jüterbog begins with my sculpture Tap Dancer (1967) and the sculpture ensemble Tisch Tänzer (1988/95). […] In The Man from Jüterbog, the male half figure is accompanied by my friend Reinhard Lettau, who used a fountain pen to write and note down short stories, in which poetry and precision put each other to the test. […] Reinhard Lettau reads these sentences himself. The sculpture puts them to movement and performs them in the language of the mechanical half body. Every sound is numbered and is assigned to a movement. […] The Man from Jüterbog: a soloist.” (S. v. H. in: exhib. cat. Stephan von Huene: Tune the World. Die Retrospektive, Ostfildern 2002, p. 201)
When the beholder approaches the drum, his/her image is projected from behind onto the light-permeable drumhead. When he/she approaches more closely, the mallet strikes the projected image, causing the drumhead to vibrate. This unexpected stroke perhaps takes the beholder by surprise, and certainly wakes him/her up.
What’s wrong with Art
Museum für Neue Kunst, ZKM, Karlsruhe
Audio: 8:40 min
Catchphrases used by artists and art critics are taken up and mixed together with refrain-style repeated questions about and judgments of art. The enigmatic language of the one is confronted with the doubt and rejection of the other. The organ pipes repeat the rhythm of the sentences in a tristrophic order. For the iconoclasts, there is no doubt: “Art is always wrong.”
Entry Questions – Exit Questions
Over a period of years, a museum attendant at the Gemäldegalerie (Gallery of Paintings) in Berlin Dahlem (today at Kemperplatz) notated questions and commentaries formulated by visitors as they entered and exited the gallery. In 1973/79, the art historian Martin Warnke published these museum questions. The text is repeated in a tristrophic rhythm order.
|Audio: 3:20 min|
2 drums, speakers, computer,
2 slide projectors with 2 × 45 slides
voice: Achatz von Müller
Museum für Neue Kunst, ZKM, Karlsruhe
The Semiconductor of Chemnitz
Half figure on base, metal, fiberglass,
mechanics, computer, sensor
Technische Universität, Chemnitz
The word “semiconductor” is a reference to one of the most important technical inventions of the 20th century; but the German term “Halbleiter” literally translates “half a Leiter” (the German “Leiter” means “leader”). This half-figure is reminiscent of the busts of celebrated professors previously found on display at universities. The figure moves in nine brief dances, apparently indicating directions with its arms.
wood and steel structure, organ pipes ,
pneumatics, computer, DVD player, video
projection, technical equipment, speakers
voice: Ines Domeyer
Albertinum, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden
“Of all Odysseus’ adventures, the encounter with the sirens was perhaps the most unsettling […] Sirens Low quotes the text from Homer’s “Odyssey”. The organ pipes repeat the rhythmic pattern at a slowed pace. The character of the tones also makes them refer to the ships and boats shown in the video. The flow [we see the Elbe River] begins smoothly and harmoniously, then it stalls and the ships falter.” (S. v. H. in: exhib. cat. Stephan von Huene: Tune the World. Die Retrospektive, Ostfildern 2002, p. 206))
Portrait Klaus Hegewisch
drum, video projection, technical equipment,
speaker ( unfinished)
166 x 102 x 260 cm
legacy Stephan von Huene
The Hamburg businessman, lifelong yachtsman, and enthusiastic art collector Klaus Hegewisch (1919–2013) was a friend of Stephan von Huene and Petra Kipphoff von Huene. When Stephan von Huene asked whether he would be interested in a portrait of himself, to which he could moreover contribute, he was intrigued and delighted.
Stephan von Huene had already long reflected on the possibilities of portraiture that lay beyond painting, sculpture, or photography. His alternative to the conventional, static depiction would have to be enacted and experienced on multiple levels: visual, acoustic, tactile – a kinetic portrait (cf. also: “The Return of the Stochastician,” in: exhib. cat. Stephan von Huene: Tune the World. Die Retrospektive, Ostfildern 2002, p. 222 f.). In the portrait, which is also a self-portrait, Klaus Hegewisch recites a satirical poem (Karl Rode, Lieutenant Colonel in Maritime Service, circa 1900), which describes Kaiser Wilhelm II and his family on board his sailing ship “Meteor V”.
Visible at first are only photographs, taken from a picture book, and set in time with Hegewisch’s recitation. In a second sequence, image and tone run parallel to one another. Hegewisch’s charm and his tongue-in-cheek recitation of the North German poem show how his love of sailing and of all things maritime can be associated with an ironic variant of the Hanseatic awareness of tradition.