Meredith Monk: Calling celebrates the visionary work of artist Meredith Monk, inviting visitors to explore and discover the work of one of this era’s most original artists. The exhibition translates her live performances and concerts into encounters with immersive video- and sound installations in the alcoves and open public space of the 700-year old church.
Living legend Meredith Monk has dedicated her career to exploring the potential of the human voice. Her enigmatic, playful, and profound compositions and live works have pushed the boundaries of music, performance, and visual art. The presentation is a unique retrospective of her influential performance practice in which she has constantly sought harmony between the spiritual, the earth, and human existence.
Monk transforms the space into a singing body and immerses the audience in an audio-visual experience created especially for the Oude Kerk. Her artistic practice and the history of the Oude Kerk share an important characteristic: improvisation as a guide for transformation. The current form of the church did not emerge from a fixed concept, but through an organic process of improvisation and adaptation to the needs of the time, just like Monk's compositions, which arise through improvisation and are fluid, with different pieces forming the building blocks of larger compositions.
Ancient and contemporary
The sound of Monk's singing is often described as ancient and contemporary at the same time. Her groundbreaking vocal work, music, theatre performances and films find a natural home in the Oude Kerk as Amsterdam's oldest building and venue for contemporary art. The exhibition aims at bringing her influential work in voice, music, staged performances and film into an experience beyond the stage.
Key works such as 2008's Songs of Ascension, Quarry (1976) and ATLAS (1991/1998) will be updated as as new installations for the Oude Kerk. Especially for Amsterdam, the interactive installation American Archaeology (1998) will be updated as a local version: Amsterdam Archeology (2023). Visitors are invited to bring and add meaningful objects to the work to build a monument of collective memories.
At the same time, Monk plays with the idea of the church as a body of archived stories, sharing her sound pieces and documentaries, scores and drawings; featuring, in particular, material from Indra's Net, her most recent work which premiered in June 2023 Amsterdam as a co-presentation of Holland Festival and Hartwig Art Foundation.
The programme of concerts, film screenings and performances aims to bridge Monk’s profound legacy to the Oude Kerk and impart it to a new generation of musicians and performers.
21 Oct. 2023, 8 p.m: Meredith Monk with Katie Geissinger and Allison Sniffin in concert (sold-out)
1 Dec. 2023, 8 a.m : Piano Songs (sold-out)
29 and 30 Dec. 2023: Wax-dipping for Amsterdam Archeology (no reservation required)
16 Feb. 2024: Piano Songs
15, 16 and 17 March 2024: A Celebration Service
Tickets for every concert will be released a few weeks ahead via the website of the Oude Kerk.
Meredith Monk: Calling is a co-presentation of Oude Kerk Amsterdam and Hartwig Art Foundation. Curated by Beatrix Ruf, director Hartwig Art Foundation, the exhibition is developed in close collaboration with Meredith Monk and The House Foundation for the Arts. This first survey of Meredith Monk’s oeuvre is a collaboration in two acts: at the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, together with Hartwig Art Foundation (21 Oct. 2023 – 17 March 2024), and at the Haus der Kunst in Munich (10 Nov. 2023 – 3 March 2024).
Legend of contemporary music Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, director/ choreographer and creator of new opera, music-theatre works, films and installations. Recognised as one of the most unique and influential artists of our time, she is the pioneer of what is now called ‘extended vocal technique’ and interdisciplinary performance, a genre that emerged in New York's artist community in the 1960s and 1970s. Monk creates works that thrive at the intersection of music, movement, sound and visual art, discovering and weaving together new modes of perception. One of the defining characteristics of Monk’s compositions and performances is her highly distinctive use of the human voice. Her celebrated compositional work and performances have received numerous awards, including a National Medal of Arts, the highest award in the United States given specifically for achievement in the arts. For more information, please visit meredithmonk.org