'Playback Room' a space for studio music based on an idea by and in collaboration with Wolfgang Tillmans

February 16 – April 24, 2016
The Lenbachhaus’s Georg Knorr Auditorium, Munich, Germany

Everyone knows what a museum is: a space dedicated to the contemplation of works of visual art. No comparable venues exist where visitors can listen  to music in studio quality. “Playback Room”, a series of projects conceived by Wolfgang Tillmans, seeks to close this gap with a room specifically designed for listening to recorded music.

Concert halls allow us to experience live music, and operas are staged in buildings erected for the purpose. Studio music as a distinctive art form stands out for lacking venues dedicated to its reception, even though many musicians regard the final recording of a song or album as the true essence of their art. They spend months in the studio working hard to produce a version with optimum sound quality, yet most playback equipment — including home audio systems and portable devices as well as commercial audio installations — is not fit for perfect sound reproduction. In recent years, digital compression has compounded the widespread problem of low sound quality in playback.

To ensure the best listening experience for the visitors, Kvadrat Soft Cells has sponsored Soft Cells acoustic panels, which Tillmans has incorporated into the exhibition space. The sound absorbing qualities of Soft Cells reduce the reflecting sounds that can be caused by the hard walls in museums, resulting in optimal conditions for the music.

The Lenbachhaus’s Georg Knorr Auditorium is temporarily converted into a music playback room and equipped with a high-end hi-fi sound system that allows visitors to listen to music in the original recording quality. Two playlists supplied by Wolfgang Tillmans will be heard in the room. The first, compiled by Wolfgang Tillmans, will be composed specifically for the Lenbachhaus; it will also contain tracks that were already part of Tillmans’s “Salle Techno” at the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1994. The second playlist, titled “Colourbox – Music of the group (1982–1987)”, has previously been presented in the project space Between Bridges in Berlin. Evening events and a symposium will round out the project.

About the artist

Wolfgang Tillmans
Born 1968 in Remscheid, Germany

Wolfgang Tillmans studied at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design in Bournemouth, England from 1990 to 1992. In 2000, Tillmans was the first photographer and first non-British artist to receive the Turner Prize.

Since the early 1990s, Tillmans’s work has been the subject of prominent solo exhibitions at international institutions, recently with a major survey that toured through South America (2012–2013). The Kunsthalle Zürich (2012) and Les Rencontres d’Arles in France (2013) presented photographs from the artist’s latest body of work, Neue Welt. In 2012, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm displayed a selection of works spanning twenty-five years; the show traveled to the K21, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf in 2013. In 2014 installations by Wolfgang Tillmans were shown as part of the 8th Berlin Biennale, Manifesta 10 and in collection displays at the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. His video installation Book for Architects, which debuted at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale is currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and within a large-scale solo exhibition at the National Museum of Art in Osaka. On November 30, 2015 Wolfgang Tillmans will be awarded the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography in Gothenburg.

The artist has operated the non-profit exhibition space Between Bridges since 2006. First located in London until 2011, it reopened in Berlin in 2014.

He currently lives and works in Berlin and London.