Composer/producer/artist Brian Eno came to Asheville last week to oversee the installation of his “visual music” exhibit, 77 Million Paintings at the YMI Cultural Center (39 S Market St.). During a press conference last week, Eno explained that the exhibit has been continually added to since its inception. Images are projected onto a series of screen and are constantly changing so that the possible number of combinations are more like “100 million, cubed,” according to Eno. The evolving pictures are set to a soundtrack of various pieces of music broadcast from a number of multi-track players so that the sound, too, is random and unique to each viewer’s experience of the exhibit.
From a press release: “Conceived by Eno as ‘visual music, 77 Million Paintings is a constantly evolving sound and image-scape born from his exploration of light as an artistic medium and his interest in the aesthetic possibilities of generative software. Presented on a uniquely configured constellation of video monitors, 77 Million Paintings is a serene and beautiful work, slowly evolving and transforming in time such that no two instants are quite the same. It is art that encourages the viewer to slow down and enter a contemplative state, reflecting on the uniqueness of a passing moment that has almost certainly never existed before.”
77 Million Paintings opens today and available to the public through Wednesday, Nov. 30. YMI hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Wednesdays-Saturdays and 1-6 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $10.
Eno’s bio: “Artist, musician, producer, songwriter, and political activist, Brian Eno first came to international prominence in the early 1970s as a founding member of the British band, Roxy Music, bringing a playful, exciting, and innovative approach to electronics and synthesized sound to the group. Many regard his synthesizer solo on the band’s “Editions of You” as one of the visionary, cutting edge uses of the instrument’s true sound generating potential. After leaving the band, Eno went on to create an acclaimed groundbreaking series of recordings during the 1970s, including such classics as Another Green World and Music for Airports, encompassing both exploratory pop and experimental music. During this time, he also became the leading practitioner of “ambient music.” His visionary production work with other artists, including U2, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Devo, and Coldplay has led to some of their most powerful and enduring musical creations.
“Though best known for his musical endeavors, Eno’s work in the visual arts actually predates his musical career. In fact, as Eno recounts, had it not been for a chance encounter with Roxy Music’s Andy Mackay in a London Subway, he would “ . . . probably be an art teacher now.” A 1969 graduate of the Winchester School of Arts, Eno’s work with light and video paralleled his musical career in the 1980s and ‘90s, with exhibitions throughout Europe, the United States, and Japan.
“Eno’s musical creativity today continues in a particularly fertile new phase. He has recently released two compelling albums on Warp Records. Small Craft on a Milk Sea, released in late 2010, was a collaboration with two young electronic players/composers, Leo Abrahams and Jon Hopkins (who appeared at Moogfest last year). Last month, he released a unique and hypnotic collaboration with poet Rick Holland, Drums Between the Bells, which explores new worlds of musical possibilities in the intersection of the human voice with electronic music.”