An early twentieth-century Bechstein piano has a hole carved in the center, creating a void through which a pianist stands to play the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Commonly known as the Ode to Joy, this famous final chorus has long been invoked as a musical representation of human fraternity and universal brotherhood in contexts as ideologically disparate as the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Ian Smith’s White Supremacist Rhodesia, and the Third Reich, among many others. Today it is the official anthem of the European Union. Expanding the notions of both a prepared piano and a piano player, the performer must reach over the keyboard and resituate his or her fingering of the keys both upside down and backward, while at times physically mobilizing the instrument to trace a path through the exhibition space.
Fundació Antoni Tàpies