2015-09-11 . . . 2015-10-21

Sonorous Objects

Rolf Julius, Tokoko Sauvage, Rubén d’Hers and Marc Hurtado


The Empty Gallery is proud to present ‘Sonorous Objects’, the first exhibition in a series of multidisciplinary shows curated in this new Hong Kong contemporary art space. Featuring works by four international sound artists, Tomoko Sauvage (Japan), Ruben D’Hers (Venezuela), Rolf Julius (Germany) and Marc Hurtado (France), ‘Sonorous Objects’ will explore the complex and nuanced field of sound art through a range of different art works. While each of the artists have used sound in a variety ways in their practice, all of the works on display will include a strong visual element that references to the natural world. The resulting multisensory experiences created by these works will be heightened by the unique setting of The Empty Gallery’s entirely black interior.


Japanese sound artist Tomoko Sauvage will present her quiet yet monumental piece In Curved Water, in which large diamonds of melting ice are suspended above bowls of water. Dominating the gallery’s main space, these crystals will slowly disappear, dripping water into the bowls beneath them. Hydrophones will amplify the sound of the droplets, creating a unique and unrepeatable acoustic event which subtly changes with the passage of time. Synthesizing both visual and aural elements, In Curved Water is a strikingly sensual meditation on temporality.

Venezuelan musician and artist Rubén D’Hers will install cristo fué y guacamaya in The Empty Gallery foyer. This mysterious sound-making device consists of two bird cages, overlapped by steel strings, forming a sort of primitive guitar. The piece is then “strummed” by motorized bird-feathers and joined by bird song which floats through the space. Recalling certain works by Rauschenberg and Duchamp, Rubén creates a strategic “gap” between the seen and the heard to provoke a sense of mystery.

The exhibition will also include two works by late German sound artist Rolf Julius. Singing II, a minimalist piece consisting of two hanging speakers dusted with black pigment, will welcome visitors as they step into the gallery. As Julius’ compositions play, the vibration of the speaker membranes cause both pigment and speakers to seem to “breathe” and “hover”, evoking the organic rhythms of nature inside the gallery. Elsewhere in the space, Large Stonegarden recalls a Japanese Zen garden. Sounds from nature dance around a garden of small stones, asking us to reflect on the relationship between inside and outside, nature and technology, artifice and organicity.

Lastly, legendary Industrial musician and filmmaker Marc Hurtado (of the group Etant Donnes) will show his seminal experimental films Aurore, Royaume, and Bleu in The Empty Gallery’s screening room. These rarely shown works are held in collection by MOMA and Anthology Film Archives and depict the natural world as a place of startling sensuality and intensity through a unique combination of abstract visuals, field recordings, and whispered poetry.


Founder of The Empty Gallery Stephen Cheng said, “We are delighted to bring together works by four diverse sound artists for the first in a series of experiential and experimental exhibitions at The Empty Gallery. ‘Sonorous Objects’ showcases our keen interest in works which buck the prevailing tendency towards conceptualism and reaffirm the primacy of the object in artistic experience. Additionally, this show is an example of our commitment to bypassing a “neutral” model of exhibition design and searching for new, contextually relevant, and sensually immersive modes of presentation.”