drei allegorien (2006)

Sound Installation with Georg Hajdu

In a letter to the Russian Poet and Privy Counsellor Vasili Zhukovsky, Friedrich described four of his transparent pictures which he sold to the Russian Tsar around 1835: Next to a romantic Schatzhebung im Walde (Treasure Lift in the Forest) allegories of worldly, religious and celestial music. These four pictures were to be displayed in a darkened and carpeted room, illuminated only from behind. In other words: In an environment that sharpens the senses also for other impressions-such as music that mysteriously emanates from an adjacent room.Unfortunately these works are lost, only the sketches for the three allegories survive. The music you now hear in the background was composed according to Friedrich’s guidelines specifically for this exhibition by Jacob Sello and Georg Hajdu, Professor at the University of Music and Theatre in Hamburg. Hajdu & Sello use quotes from baroque lute music for Allegorie der weltlichen Musik (Allegory of Worldly Music), melodies by Schumann for Allegorie der kirchlichen Musik (Allegory of Church Music) and sounds of the glass harmonica for Allegorie der himmlischen Musik (Allegory of Celestial Music).The glass harmonica was invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761 and was soon in use in Dresden. The Viennese doctor and scholar Franz Anton Mesmer, a contemporary of Friedrich, used the glass harmonica to hypnotise his patients for therapeutic purposes.We display the allegories alongside Gebirgige Flusslandschaft (Mountainous Riverscape) and Ruine Oybin bei Mondschein (Ruin Oybin in Moonlight), Friedrich’s only surviving transparent pictures.

The installation was exhibited at the Hamburger Kunsthalle for three months.