Casa Bonita

Salon (The Living Room) was the first absolute environment that Rafael Barrios had presented in Venezuela and consists of a gigantic “wall” made of angular stones slashed diagonally by a huge beam of light which repeats musical vibrations. The wall reflects boundaries within the inner world, of what happens inside a house whether the separation be geographical, national, linguistic, ideological, social, inner… The wall expresses the feeling of the contemporary world and the private music that holds its sound in inner spaces. With the wall as an object, Marturet wanted to build the phrases of the inner world.

From their very first encounter, Barrios and Marturet organized their creative integration around a piano and the generic work Volver, volver, volver, which movements only use a piano. This is Marturet’s first instrument and his evocation required an area where it could be present, thus the Salon, the first room in Casa Bonita. With a very free-flowing concept of the area, the artist presents two opposite elements, crossing on vast diagonals, in a contrasting representation that clashes with the notion of the quotidian. Vibrating on the “Wall” is the “Slash” that cuts across the diagonal space with a beam of light that repeats the musical vibrations, the sections following the progressive phrases of the Fibonacci numbers. The large concert piano, acting as a music box, is planted in that environment of altered perspective and brings us back to the original idea, the Salon in the Sound House.

Interestingly, Barrios presented a similar work in New York in 1980, but on that occasion the image was produced by a steel beam that crossed the spaces in the gallery. Slash 80 was a work that was solid, yet volatile, heavy and light, a beam slicing through space whose basic structural elements – four edges held in place by four thick wires – had to be kept taut by a process of tightening or tuning, following the same rules used to tune the strings of a cello. This is an obvious link to music in that the sound of the musical instrument was essential to maintain the solidity of the beam. “Moreover,” Barrios says, “Slash 80 worked as a transmitter of noises and vibrations, through a system of communicating vessels. We decided to bring in a new ‘Slash’ for Casa Bonita, a ‘Slash’ restated seven years later, now as a beam of light that makes the wall lighter, floatier. The intention was partly to do away with, eliminate the blocking and division that the wall forces upon us as a code, and partly to make this solid, heavy element more spiritual. To achieve it, I use a 30-meter long neon light with a conceptual and aesthetic segmentation that is the tie between the music and my work, which is strengthened in a theoretical direction that I will continue to develop. With proposals such as this: environmental – musical – sculptural, you also consolidate the truly contemporary nature of art in our times.” Together, the forces of primary constructions and combination of several harmonious axis meeting suddenly make the impossible possible.

Visual Artist: Rafael Barrios
Visual Artist: Rafael Barrios


8 hours of acoustic piano
Click on the streaming audio links below to sample.