interview Tauba Auerbach

Onlangs al een stuk met werk van Tauba Auerbach geplaatst, nu via Michiel Ceulers een heel interview. Gewoon leuk om even te lezen. Michiel, dankjewel voor de tip. door Christelle […]
Onlangs al een stuk met werk van Tauba Auerbach geplaatst, nu via Michiel Ceulers een heel interview. Gewoon leuk om even te lezen. Michiel, dankjewel voor de tip.
gevonden op OpeningCeremony

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of checking out my friend Tauba Auerbach’s solo show, “Here And Now/And Nowhere” at Deitch. Her exhibition is comprised of paintings, photographic works, and an Auerglass: a brilliantly designed two-player instrument, created by Auerbach and Cameron Mesirow of Glasser. Tauba was sweet enough to catch up with us about the theme(s) of her show, and touch on her obsessions, high school fashion statements, fuzzy dreams, and more. Please enjoy the interview, and make sure you run straight for Deitch tonight, as Tauba and Cameron will be playing the Auerglass at 8pm.

Hiiii Tauba! Congratulations on your huge solo show!! It was cleverly called Here And Now/And Nowhere. I read up that it dealt with the ideas of past and present, randomness and a sort of systematic chaos. How else would you describe the themes of your show?

The main recurring theme is a merging of two conflicting states. Sometimes it’s the states of order and randomness, or chaos and randomness —two things that I’ve recently come to understand are quite different—-or the states of two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality. The crumple paintings on the back wall for example look flat when you stand up close to them, but textured and three dimensional when you back away. You kind of pull them into three dimensions as you move back. Everything in the show is in twos. Even the Auerglass, the giant organ in the show, must be played by two people in order to make any sound or to have a complete scale.
That’s genius, your performance was beautiful. I’m stoked to see you guys play again tonight.

Now for the basics, where did you grow up?

San Francisco! Represent!!

Holla!! How long have you lived in New York?

Almost exactly a year. I’m about to go bicoastal for a little while though. I want to hole up and make some jewelry in my dad’s studio in Alameda this winter.

It’s funny, because you and I lived in San Francisco at the same time and have a ton of mutual friends, but didn’t meet until we both moved to New York. Your show brought a gigantic brigade of San Franciscans. It was impossible to walk five steps without running into an old friend. It could be said that the experience of your turn out was a display of your show’s theme. -A room full of old friends from your years in SF, combined with the people who have come into your life since relocating to New York -and everyone in between. The turn out was huge and random, but also so webbed we could probably connect one person to the next in a ten year, cross country grid. Don’t you think?

Absolutely! I love that idea. I feel like everything and everyone in my life is connecting more and more and turning into this big holistic tangle. For the most part like it. And it just feels like the natural way of the universe in both a personal and totally scientific sense…. we’re all part of one giant system.

Let’s talk about the incredible organ you designed with your friend Cameron Mesirow of Glasser. From concept to creation, how long did it take you to materialize such an innovative instrument? What was your process with that? Also, can you explain how it is meant to be played?

One night about six years ago when Cameron and I were living together in San Francisco we were bored and restless and decided to make an instrument, so we let ourselves into the sign shop I worked in at the time and made a banjo out of a cookie tin and some bits of wood laying around the shop. It had three strings and no frets. We decided that our next project should be a little bit more ambitious……and here we are! But between then and now there were a lot of steps…..we mostly talked about it a lot, and this idea crystalized that we wanted it to be a project about our friendship. We used a two person saw as a model for the concept.  We wanted there to be interdependence built into it, so that it required two people to play. We came up with the Auerglass (the name is a combination of my last name and Cameron’s band name), which is a pump organ with two separate wind systems and two incomplete keyboards. I have to pump to supply the wind to Cameron and she has to pump to supply the wind to me. We each have alternating notes of a four octave keyboard, so we have to play together to play a complete scale. About six months ago we made our final sketch and then just about three months ago we took that sketch to the lovely people upstate at Parsons Organs and finalized the design together with them. They built it for us, and then Cameron and I wrote a piece for it when it was delivered a few weeks ago. The piece we play is half composed and half a sort of structured improv. It goes from ordered to chaotic, and it is different at every performance.

Also, I loved your matching outfits and most of all, your AMAZING wooden shoes!! I felt like your shoes were part of the instrument. Not sure if that was intentional but It definitely felt to me like I was watching a ceremony, and the musicians were in traditional garb. Who designed your costumes?

Our super talented friend, Ida Falck Oeien made our dresses and our shoes, and I made our necklaces. Ida makes all of Cameron’s stage outfits for Glasser, and we like what she does so we asked her to make us clothes for the Auerglass that related to the idea of the piece. The dresses have these soft fixtures in the back that hold the sleeves in place and they can be worn several different ways, but the fixture is intensionally placed such that we have to help one another if we want to change the way we are wearing them. It’s all related to the idea of interdependence and cooperation. And I hope you got a picture, because the backs of our shoes are these beautiful positive and negative shapes that fit together if Cameron and I stand back to back. Go Ida!

Awesome, now for some random fun stuff.. What music have you been playing in the studio lately?

My friend Nicky made me a really amazing Turkish mix. I’ve been listening to that constantly, and a lot to Moondog, Opal, Zs and Up Died Sound.

What did you dress like in high school?

I was pretty concerned with being punk, but in the context of my small preppy high school it didn’t take much to accomplish that. I wore a lot of Dickies and had my hair dyed black and cut short. I think that’s when I started to make clothes for myself too.

When is the last time you said “I’ll never do that again”?

Ha! What a good question!! I think I probably say that once a day, but then only stick to it half the times I say it. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost ten years, but in the last year or so dabbled in a little fish eating. I recently said “never again” to that, and so far I’m sticking to it.

What’s the last dream you remember having?

I have vivid dreams often. The last one I remember well was about Cameron and some crazy outfits she was wearing. One of them involved leprechaun shoes.

Oh my god, that is hilarious. Were you ever obsessed with a certain band or television show?

In high school I went through my only real obsession with a band and that was Fugazi. I still think they are worthy of someone’s obsession, but I just don’t think I could have that sort of fan sort of mentality about anything anymore. I don’t think I could be obsessed with a TV show, but I do remember as a kid thinking that all the people one Square One and 3.2.1 Contact should be my friends.

What are you particularly OCD about?


Do you have any superstitions or weird rituals?

I have so many superstitions. They aren’t the usual ones, they are more along the lines of worrying about something as way of changing its outcome. And sometimes I get superstitious about symmetry. I want to do things evenly on both sides….so I’ll repeat and action with my left hand to even things out.

Name a guilty pleasure. Anything. I hate to admit it but mine is Heidi Montag’s ridiculous new single, Body Language. Now you go! 🙂

Looking at puppies on the internet. There, I said it. It sounds so stupid, but it’s what I do when I need to cheer myself up. But mostly I don’t feel guilty about pleasure.

Hahaha, that’s totally adorable. And good point, let’s not feel guilty about pleasure.

Here’s a video of Tauba Auerbach and Cameron Mesirow playing their self-designed organ, “The Auerglass” at Tauba’s openning at Deitch, September 3, 2009. Mesirow of Glasser, is playing the Auerglass on the left hand side, as Auerbach (hidden by the instrument), is simultaneously playing the organ on the right. The instrument must be played by two, as one pumps air for the other to be able to play.