Haus der Kunst announces ECM – A Cultural Archaeology

Haus der Kunst presents ECM – A Cultural Archaeology, an exhibition on view 23 November 2012–10 February 2013.

ECM–A Cultural Archeology is the first major exhibition exploring the profound musical legacy of the Munich-based label and the work of the legendary producer Manfred Eicher. ECM (Edition of Contemporary Music) was founded in Munich in 1969 by Manfred Eicher, with the goal to produce, record, and publish jazz and improvised music. One of the first musician-managed record labels in Europe, ECM’s recordings reflected a musician’s insight and set standards of aural complexity that today, after more than forty years, remain a cornerstone of its production. Bypassing industry trends to follow the music and working with musicians at the forefront of the jazz avant-garde, ECM has recorded some of the world’s most extraordinary music and established new criteria for production in recordings of depth, detail, and transparency.

As new forms of improvised and composed music took shape, Eicher broadened the label’s recording program beyond its initial focus on jazz and improvisation to incorporate developments in contemporary composition. In 1984, ECM launched the New Series, to record the work of contemporary composers and to explore the territory of European classical music. In both its Jazz and New Series lines, Eicher and ECM attach the greatest importance to close and ongoing association with the artists.

Designed as a sensorial field where photographic, sonic, filmic, typographic, and installation formats are intermingled, this exhibition showcases ECM’s cultural breadth—not just in the music world but also within the broader artistic universe, thus pointing to the label’s interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach, in which the complex relationships between sound and image, graphic design and contemporary art find their place. The exhibition includes works by the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Carla Bley, Marion Brown, Stan Douglas, Deborah Feingold, Jan Gabarek, Jean-Luc Godard, Heiner Goebbels, Peter Greenaway, the Hilliard Ensemble, Keith Jarrett, Kim Kashkashian, Gidon Kremer, Theo Kotulla, Roberto Masotti, Pat Metheny, The Otolith Group, Evan Parker, Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich, Anri Sala, András Schiff, Tomasz Stanko, and Barbara Wojirsch amongst others.

The exhibition is accompanied by a prominent series of live concerts and performances that expose both a rich range of styles and the broad scope of intercultural ideas behind the music, featuring amongst others Tim Berne, Anour Brahem, Jan Garbarek, the Hilliard Ensemble, Gidon Kremer, Charles Lloyd, Meredith Monk, Jason Moran, Enrico Rava, András Schiff.

In addition, a film series expands the exhibition’s frame of reference. The film program includes works by directors who inspired Eicher in his early years and subsequently influenced his ideas about music production—Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Bresson, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Theo Angelopoulos among them—as well as films with music by ECM artists.

The exhibition is curated by Okwui Enwezor and Markus Müller.

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