This artwork is part of Ways of Seeing, a partnership between Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019 and the Government Art Collection. Ways of Seeing turns the borough into a gallery with 33 internationally renowned artists displayed in 28 unexpected locations.
You might hear Mel Brimfield’s artwork before you see it.
4’ 33” (Prepared Pianola for Roger Bannister) is a self-playing piano. It is also a “ball-run” of instruments that is triggered by pressing a large red button. The piano plays a piece of music by the British musician, Paul Higgs inspired by the American experimental composer, John Cage. Cage’s 1952 piece 4’ 33” was a musical score that instructed performers not to play. It is 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence.
The artwork celebrates British athlete Sir Roger Bannister (1929 - 2018). It commemorates his performance in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics when he came fourth, missing out on a medal. Brimfield invites us to ‘listen’ to the famous race. When the music plays, you can hear fragments of national anthems and the theme tune from the television programme Ski Sunday. Two prints displayed nearby show Bannister in action.
Born in Oxford, Mel Brimfield studied art in Bath and London. She is known for collaborating with other artists, choreographers, composers and scientists. She is a tutor at the Royal College of Art, London. This artwork was commissioned by the Government Art Collection for London 2012 Festival.
Tell us what the artwork makes you think and feel using #wfculture19