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  • ‘The Blues Quartet’
    18 MAY - 17 SEPT 2007

    Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, USA

    João Paulo Feliciano’s exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, features two multi-media works and two graphic wall installations filling the expansive windowed Kaplan Hall with an array of sound and light and images. The title work in the exhibition The Blues Quartet consists of four lamps at the corners of a table-top stage. Planes of transparent blue Perspex divide the tabletop into four sectors, where the lights flicker and blink in response to music played through an iPod. The colorful reflections, patterns, mingling of light, tints and sounds create a bewildering and surprising choreography. Because the effect is unpredictable, the installation is truly part sculpture, part event. This somewhat random system takes on a personality, changing its form and quality of light in synch with its environment and surroundings.

    Feliciano approaches The Blues Quartet as if it were an actual band or a quartet of musicians on tour. As such, The Quartet serves as the springboard for several other pieces in the exhibition. Blues For Christmas is a group of fifteen photo collages featuring The Blues Quartet. The individual lights were photographed during the performance of various American Blues standards and then pieced back together to create a photo-montage portrait of the “band” in concert. The framed works are installed in a seldom-traveled corridor of the building, encouraging a full exploration of the street-level lobby space.

    Continuing to play with the concept of a sculpture performing as if it were a traveling band, Feliciano has created an ongoing series of abstracted playbills and promotional posters for The Blues Quartet. The Blues Quartet Poster Series covers the prominent main wall of Kaplan Hall in a manner reminiscent of guerilla-style, street marketing campaigns promoting new albums or upcoming concerts. Rather than generating new graphics, Feliciano appropriates a vast assortment of album covers and reconfigures them to provide the text and imagery to promote The Blues Quartet. This poster series, while mimicking the format of promotional literature, remains resolutely abstract, offering no information about The Blues Quartet other than its name and an intimation of the many moods the band can evoke.

    The Blues Quartet is accompanied in this exhibition by Kaleidoscopic Blues Machine, a self-contained video kaleidoscope. Feliciano uses low-tech means to achieve high-tech results. A simple monitor is transformed into a mechanism to reflect and render abstract a silent, black-and-white video montage of both famous and obscure musical performances. Feliciano re-directs the camera to focus on the instruments and the musicians’ hands, creating an impressionistic collection of concert footage. Kaleidoscopic Blues Machine reflects an ongoing strategy employed by Feliciano whereby he focuses attention on a small part of a system while simultaneously transforming the whole environment into an elusive and poetic experience.

    The music played by / for The Blues Quartet will change during the 4 months of the exhibition. Playlists will be added to the I-Pod, selected by a diverse roster of musicians, curators, composers and artists, including: João Paulo Feliciano; Matt Distel (curator of the exhibition); Rafael Toral (Lisbon based musician); Lee Ranaldo (of Sonic Youth); C Spencer Yeh (of Burning Star Core); Peter Frampton; (music celebritiy from Cincinnati); Bootsy Collins (another music celebritiy from Cincinnati); Chris Burgan (curator of the exhibition “A Thousand Tears Too Late”, about the Cincinnati soul scene); Tony Lehman (Cincinnati artist); John Curley (ex- Afghan Whigs bass player).
    … and more to be added…

    Live performance
    September 15, 2007
    featuring João Paulo Feliciano, Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Rafael Toral and Trevor Tremaigne (Hair Police) playing live with The Blues Quartet

    Exhibition from May 18th until September 17th 2007
    44 East Sixth Street
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
    Monday: 10 am – 9 pm (5 pm – 9 pm free admission)
    Tuesday: Closed
    Wednesday – Friday: 10 am – 6 pm
    Saturday & Sunday: 11 am – 6 pm
    information : + 1 513.345.8400

    Exhibition Sponsor: Lightborne Communication
    Installation Sponsor: Dr. Stanley & Mickey Kaplan Foundation
    Artist Sponsor: Clark, Schaefer, Hackett & Co.