Loading...

Hey Joe, 1996

Installation, Dimensions variables

Although the human voice had been absent from the visual arts for centuries, it has increasingly taken centre stage in some visual arts practices in recent decades. The history of this recovery of the human voice lies in Dadaist phonetic poetry and the poésie sonore of the years following the Second World War. This renewed interest has not only been encouraged by the reflections of theorists of the voice such as Roland Barthes, but also by new technological possibilities of reproduction and experimentation with the voice. Kristin Oppenheim’s visual and sound installations can be contextualised within this artistic context.

When Oppenheim began experimenting with a tape recorder in the early nineties, she noticed that her nostalgic, seductive voice was ideal for singing. Since then, she usually records herself in a recording studio in order to produce the tapes that she then uses in her installations. She generally recites a single line or phrase that she takes from popular music or writes herself, and repeats it over and over without musical accompaniment.

Using a minimalist visual language, Kristin Oppenheim dispenses with almost all images in order to emphasise the potential of the human voice, which takes on a physical and emotional presence. In Hey Joe, she uses the first line of a music track popularised by Jimi Hendrix during the years of the Vietnam war. The spectator hears a hypnotic, melancholic voice (the artist’s), which repeats: “Hey Joe, where’re you going with that gun in your hand?” Meanwhile, several spotlights on the ceiling project rays of light onto the floor of the empty room. The beams of light move around the space in an unpredictable dance, while the voice repeats the same text over and over, in a visual and auditory crescendo. At the beginning, the mood is reminiscent of the magic of fairytales, but the finale is threatening, and even prison-like.


Technical details

Original title:
Hey Joe
Registration number:
4281
Artist:
Oppenheim, Kristin
Date created:
1996
Date acquired:
2010
Fonds:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
Object type:
Installation
Media:
Spotlight, loudspeakers, informatic system and sound recording, 2 min 15 s
Dimensions:
Dimensions variables
Edition number:
P.A.
Credits:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
Copyright:
© Kristin Oppenheim
It has accessibility resources:
No

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

For more information on the work or the artist, please consult MACBA's Library. To request a loan of the work, please write to colleccio [at] macba.cat.

If you need a high resolution image of the work, you must submit an image loan request.

The objects are intended to have the objective character of industrial products. They are not intended to represent anything other than what they are. The previous categorization of the arts no longer exists.
Charlotte Posenenske