Dani Gal: Three Works for Piano, 2020

A new film produced on behalf of Blood Mountain Projects

Dani Gal, Three Works for Piano, 2020 (34 mins), still © The Artist

Three Works for Piano (2020, 4K, colour, 34 mins) examines the roles of silence, silencing and listening in the politics of dominant national narratives and how socially accepted violence is constructed through the disciplines of witness testimonies in historical trauma studies and in post-colonial and post-Holocaust discourses.

The artwork reconstructs three piano performances of the 20th century avant-garde: John Cage’s seminal work “4’33” from the late 1970s, where the intended silence was interrupted by an Israeli audience’s spontaneous performance of a nationalistic song; the radical composer George Antheil’s confrontation of his audience with a loaded gun in a concert in Budapest in 1923; and the first documented art performance of a piano demolition by the Wiener Gruppe in 1959. The three events function as hallucinatory allegories to contemplate the complex dynamics between the historical witness and society.

This triangulation of performer-sound-audience is reflected in a recent real-life event, where the testimony of an Israeli soldier as a violent perpetrator in the occupied territories, was discredited and denied by the state. This negation of culpability sidelines the story from the real victims and exposes the soldier’s moral ambiguity.

Dani Gal’s artistic practice focuses on the production of ideology through the representation of specific historical narratives in a variety of media to question the claims of historical knowledge and to reveal and challenge underlying political preconceptions. Using archival documents towards the creation of cinematic reenactments, sound compositions and other interdisciplinary works, Gal explores the relationship between image, sound and text to illuminate national interests behind the construction of historical-and-national narratives and the process of shaping collective memory. “Three Works for Piano” continues the artist’s engagement with multi-directional memory and victim-perpetrator relations in post-colonial and post-Holocaust discourses. In English with German subtitles.

Director: Dani Gal
Camera: Itay Marom
Creative Producer: Caroline Kirberg
Actors: Itay Tiran, Dulcie Smart

Screening and Public Events

Premiere: steirischer herbst ’20 Festival, Graz Austria (04 October 2020)
Artist Talk: In discussion with David Riff, senior curator, steirischer herbst (04 October 2020)
Artist Interview: In conversation with Artis, New York (22 October 2020)

Palazzo Grassi, Venice IT (29 May 2021)
European Media Art Festival, Osnabrück DE (21-25 April 2021)
Lo Schermo dell Arte Film Festival, Florence IT (12-14 November 2020)
Steirischer Herbst ’20, Graz AT (04 October-19 November 2020)

Commissioned and produced by:

In partnership with:

Supported by:

Dani Gal, Three Works for Piano, 2020 (34 mins) backstage © Alaya Gazit