In autumn 2023, the Oude Kerk and the Hartwig Art Foundation present the most comprehensive survey to date of contemporary music legend Meredith Monk. The presentation is a unique retrospective of her influential performance practice, in which she constantly sought harmony between the spiritual, the earth, and human existence.
For over five decades Meredith Monk pushed the envelope of vocal music. Her highly unique approach to the voice has inspired many generations of musicians and sound artists and earned her numerous prestigious awards.
Ancient and contemporary
The sound of Monk’s singing is often described as ancient ent contemporary, and thus fits seamlessly with the Oude Kerk as both Amsterdam’s oldest building and place for contemporary art. Her groundbreaking vocal work, music, theater 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 groundbreaking work in voice, music, staged performances and film into an experience beyond the stage with works translating her theatrical pieces into encounters with immersive video- and sound installations in the alcoves and open public space of the 700-year old church.
Looking back and forward
Key works such as 2008’s Songs of Ascension, Quarry (1976) and ATLAS (1991) 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. Visitors are invited to bring and add meaningful objects to the work to build a monument of collective memories.
Legend of contemporary music
Meredith Monk (b. 1942, New York) is considered the great pioneer of extended vocal technique and interdisciplinary performance, the genre that emerged in New York’s artist community in the 1960s and 1970s. One of the defining characteristics of Monk’s compositions and performances is her highly distinctive use of the human voice.