Mechanical Piano, Sound Machines, Turntables

Marcos Moreira & Nelson Soares (O Grivo)

Until 6 July 2011

Courtesy of the artists and Galería Nara Roesler, São Paulo

Since Marcos Moreira and Nelson Soares first founded O Grivo in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in 1990, the group has worked on creating musical instruments that are often created from non-musical elements and activated by mechanical and electrical systems that explore the physical aspects of sound and its extremely different sources. Their domestic-looking machines play with aesthetics and acoustics, placing equal importance on both. Hearing and seeing are both considered important in the work of O Grivo, who are interested in the way different pieces can coexist in a single space, and on the visual and sound interferences that they create in relation to each other.
O Grivo use waste (old record players) and cheap construction materials (balsa wood and cables) to build what they call “sound sculptures,” which are activated by mechanical and electrical mechanisms. The musical aspect of these seemingly home-made, simple, primitive automata is of key importance. It consists of compositions that use variations based on improvisation-repetition, inspired by sounds existing in the world. Unlike the works of other Brazilian sound artists like Paulo Nenflidio and the group Chelpa Ferro, O Grivo consider themselves to be making music first, then art. We should be aware that the visual aspect of their work comes second to the acoustic, even though O Grivo seek to ensure that visitors enjoy the pieces equally through both senses.
O Grivo are working towards developing a new way of listening that in turn leads to a new way of seeing. Rather than succumbing to confusion on entering the exhibition space where all their works are mixed together and their sounds interfere with each other, the visitor must learn to distinguish between different musical timbres, variations, rhythms and intensities, to bring order out of the apparent chaos, and to expand the musical options that are familiar to us with other sounds made up of harmonious chords and discords.