Solo Piano [study for McKinsey Show] – Pianist: Jan Feltgen
You are on the 36th floor of a glassy skyscraper, peaking out of the horizon of a cosmopolitan city. It's sunset, and you are invited to the opening of a private art exhibition.
A disputed consultancy company commissioned two young artist to exhibit work in their office space. You have no clue what this means. But needed any kind of distraction. This will do.
A lady with a pair of metal-framed glasses behind the reception desk asks for your name. She scrolls through the names of guests. There are more invitees than you anticipated. It makes you feel less valued. For a second your heart ponders. Imagine if she doesn't find yours? The ridicule you'd have to face if... - "AH!" She exclaims, and signs with her hand to move to the next door.
A young gentleman takes your coat out of your hands without asking upon your arrival in the space. He hangs it in a unlocked closet. You shortly question your wallet's safety, but then realise you are on the 36th floor of a highly secured skyscraper, and you are broke.
You slowly acclimatise to this room. The speed of the elevator taking you from ground to the 36th floor is something your body is not used to. The G-force shook your guts. You let your gaze wander across the room looking for faces you might know well enough to greet. But you keep it at nodding from a distance for now. You surrender to the thought of a glass of alcohol helping you to feel at ease. You start to zone out with the sound of the guests on the background. Cocktail effect. An acoustical phenomena. Overwhelming your grey mass.
A garcon offers you sparkling wine on a plateau. You take a glass without looking him in the eyes. How do you hold a glass again? The food on the banket looks nice. You can't stop thinking about the bitesized portions looking so ridiculous. A one sip soup? Where are you even? And why are you here? You are looking out of the window, a glass in one hand. You're not even hungry. Although everyone is still talking, the piano starts playing. It feels like you are the only one listening.
For this show, a piano was placed in the lounge of the company's office space. This piano was sourced from Metropol, Dusseldorf's oldest Arthouse cinema theater during a previous exhibition (SOMMER, Kunst Im Tunnel).
The piece, made by the artist, is a collage of various compositions, sometimes altered to create the effect of glitches or leaving space to the player to modify on the spot. Some pieces are used in a analoge way to the use of samples. Thanks to Jan Feltgen, who played the piece on sight, which was an important part of the process – to not have studied the piece beforehand.
An important reference in the piece is Mozart's piano concerto no. 20 in D minor because of Maria João Pires. One day, she is playing a concert, and accidentally prepared for another piece than she was supposed to. She realises her mistake when hearing the first notes of the orchestra she is playing with. After long thoughts and doubts, she relies purely on her memory to play the piece, and does so without mistake.
I was interested in the subconscious memory fo the brain when succombed to certain circumstances. The ambiguous pressure of performance, and the poetics of fear