Shadow of Smoke Rings on the Wall by Amir Fattal

Exhibition view at Hengesbach Gallery Berlin - RISS, curated by Stephan Köhler in March 2013

Amir Fattal is a conceptual artist whose work has been described as “eloquently exploring the relationship between Berlin’s painful history and the universal existential concerns of the individual”. His two new projects, however, show that his body of work is more complex than that. Shadow of Smoke Rings on the Wall, his latest photo book published by Dickersbach Kunstverlag, includes over sixty-two images of his installations and sculptures, which are visual metaphors for the act of memorialization. 

The launch of this book will be accompanied by the premiere of From the End to the Beginning, a new music performance by Amir Fattal based on “Liebestod” from Richard Wagner’s opera Tristan and Isolde. The piece will be performed by the Zafraan Ensemble with soprano Dénise Beck and conducted by Holly Mathieson. The starting point for this musical work was to play Wagner’s original score in reverse order. By copying the last note as the first note and proceeding in this way, a new “mirrored” piece is created. The significance of what Fattal does with “Liebestod” is particularly poignant, as the latter is the final dramatic aria, sung by Isolde after Tristan’s death. Performing this specific piece backwards suggests resurrection and the power of music to transcend even the irreversibility of death itself.

From the End to the Beginning will be performed twice tomorrow at the launch of Fattal’s book in Berlin. Head over to the Kunstquartier Bethanien to catch it (one performance is at 7 pm and the other at 8).

Images courtesy of the artist and Safia Dickersbach.

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