Concerto Per Natura Morta, paradoxical convergence of presence and absence


Wood is unique in its acoustic properties. Coupled with its aesthetic appeal, it has always been the material of choice for both musical instruments and the interiors of concert halls. Roberto Pugliese‘s multi-channel sound sculpture, Concerto Per Natura Morta, consists of thirteen hollowed out Chestnut trunks, each suspended in a horizontal position at different heights above a gallery floor. Placed inside each trunk is a speaker whose sound is modified by the unique resonant characteristics of that individual tree due to its structure and size. The sound recordings are composed from field recordings taken from the original tree locations, as well as recordings of the mechanical hollowing-out process that rendered them into ‘musical instruments’. Visually, their structures suggest scaled-up woodwind instruments. They also partially represent the sonic mechanics of most musical instruments, as resonant objects containing empty space. In this way Concerto Per Natura Morta provides a paradoxical convergence of presence and absence, since the sound of the hollowing-out process is amplified and modified by the hole that is left in the tree by that very process. The arrangement of the trees results in a complex multi-layered spatial sound that carries sonic information of the trees natural environment. It is the artist’s way of drawing attention to environmental concerns, particularly global deforestation and its harm to the Earth’s biodiversity. Paul Prudence


Roberto Pugliese Concerto per natura morta Studio la Città Verona 2014