Sound

The National Gallery is collaborating with Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication on 'Transcriptions: Sound’, an innovative new project which involves sound design students producing a three-minute response to a painting of their choice in the Gallery's collection.

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From the sound artist:

 

I was struck by the tenderness in this painting, despite the brutal act it depicts. It is one of a series by Manet portraying the same scene. Here, one of the guards holds his rifle away from his body, with a certain reluctance.

Manet’s close friend, the poet Charles Baudelaire, died while he was working on this subject. He made some studies. At Baudelaire’s funeral the artist made some sketches and he chose to include the background landscape from those studies in this painting. For this reason I included the poetry of Baudelaire in my response.

The painting in fact suggested a number of works of literature to me, particularly ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcia Márquez. I include excerpts from these texts as whispered monologues. The only literal sounds are the riflemen’s footsteps and the cocking of a gun.

Toby Owen

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