Raul Keller’s solo exhibition What You Hear Is What You Get (Mostly) focuses on sound as a physical phenomenon in a site-specific, i.e. spatial, context. With the help of installational and sculptural spatial objects, Keller ‘tunes’ the museum’s rooms into a uniform sound environment, which, according to the artist, comprises a work with an open composition, in which the location of the viewers in the space and the relationship they establish with the artwork affect their sound experience.
On 6 August in Berlin, Raul Keller’s solo exhibition moondur/shifter opened at the MEINBLAU project room, where he exhibited a voluminous sculptural sound installation. In the EKKM exhibition, Keller is partially continuing the development of the objects from the Berlin show with the goal of creating a massive and comprehensive sound installation occupying three floors. The multi-storied installation covers 450 meters and three floors of the museum, and most probably is the largest-scale sound art installation in Estonian history; at least, I cannot remember anything from the past that could equal it. Sound art is a field in which the convergence of the sound and spatial experiences is especially intensive, and Keller has the ability to synthesize them in an intriguing way.
Sound art is an art discipline that has developed from interdisciplinary arts, experimental contemporary music, and performance arts. Composers such as Eric Satie, John Cage, La Monte Young, and Nam June Paik, on the one hand, and artists like Luigi Russolo, Marcel Duchamp, Max Neuhaus and many others, on the other, are considered the pioneers in the field. The term ‘sound art’ came into use in the 1980s. Raul Keller’s quite exceptional work in the Estonian cultural field also fits into this tradition, which is balanced on the interim landscape between contemporary music and contemporary art.
The Estonian sound art scene is small but active and Raul Keller is definitely one of the most important artists in this context. Keller was born in 1973 and he lives and works in Tallinn. He studied art education and drawing at Tallinn University (BA, art teacher, 1999) and defended his MA theses at the Estonian Academy of Arts (Interaktiivne Multimeedia, 2002). Starting in the 2000s, he has been active in various contemporary and traditional art disciplines and focused on site-specific sound installations, performance, improvisation, DIY culture, texts, video and radiophonic art. He helped found the radio art festival Radiator (with Katrin Essenson) and he has given concert performances of radio art with LokaalRaadio (with Katrin Essenson and Hello Upan). He is also a member of Eesti Elekter, an experimental electronic music group (with Taavi Kerikmäe, Tõnis Leemets, Maike Lond as well as Heikki and Kalle Tikas) and appears from time to time with Anglo-American artist Paul Cole, performing burlesque Americana rock. Keller is also a founding member and head of the Muusika ja Kunsti Dünaamilise Koondise (Estonian for Dynamic Union of Music and Arts). He has appeared at exhibitions and concert-performances in Great Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia and the Baltic countries.
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The exhibition is taking place thanks to support from the Cultural Endowment of Estonia