Marina Rosenfeld


organized by Michael Cavuto

October 13 — December 4, 2021
36 Orchard Street



David Joselit and Marina Rosenfeld in conversation [VIDEO]

Miguel Abreu Gallery is pleased to announce the opening, on Wednesday, October 13th, of Marina Rosenfeld’s Partials. The exhibition will be held at our 36 Orchard Street location.

In Partials, Marina Rosenfeld extends and expands a new body of cross-media sculptural works first developed in two recent institutional shows, Music Stands (2019) at The Artist’s Institute, NY and We’ll start a fire (2021) at Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel.

Rosenfeld’s practice across diverse sonic media is well known, and in these new works, sound remains her primary material, although here in its unique capacity for plastic manipulation, spatial diffusion and distortion, and its resistance to transcription into visually coded images. At stake is an explicit refusal of the pervasive notion that sound, over and above the other senses, is a universally immersive and unmediated experience. Instead, Partials takes off from the knowledge that our sense of sound is always incomplete, differential, and undergoing loss as well as constantly occurring feedback cycles and disruption. In short, sound is always phenomenally distinct, materially pliable, and manifest in particularized scenarios. At the core of the exhibition is an ongoing, algorithmically enacted eponymous sound work that realizes a relational aural reality through the generation of a contoured and limited sonic shape permeating the gallery.

Three wrought steel objects, A general fetishism (a), The keyboardization of the world, and Cee (c), occupy the gallery’s main space. Sinuous and precariously situated, balancing, leaning against, and even carving into the room’s infrastructure, these forms give an initial impression of virtual spatial pathways while also drawing the body to certain vantages, tracing a line that sparks our desire for figurative referents. They are at once notations for an elusive sonic presence as well as supports for the unfolding of the show’s central work, an open circuit of recorded and live sound that involves the entire material environment—architectural and otherwise—as buffers, frames, and porous textural conduits for sonic composition. Each sculpture bears microphones that act as nodes in a compounded tangle of recursive signal loops passing from a computer output through to loudspeakers. As hearing-structures, they re-emit amplified signals in the form of traces or echoes sent back into the system by way of the choreographed staging of live mics, while at the same time capturing any data given off by the movement of visitors or resounding from the street and surrounding apartments. The lifespan of a given signal is determined along predesigned sonic routes, doubling and decaying over the time it takes for its initial energy to dissipate. Constituted through the interplay of signal and aftersound, force and memory, imprint and apparition, there is an abundance of transfer that renders the origin of the artist’s gesture, her voice, unlocatable. This sensual collaboration of all that might occur within the sounded shape of the exhibition approaches an expansive idea of music.

On view throughout Partials is a productive tension between auditory and visual translation that both heightens and troubles our sensory orientations. Alongside the sculptures as notational semblances, the show includes a large photographic object and a set of works on paper comprising images that act as germinal diagrams for new sound works. Through an emergent formalism and textually enigmatic qualities, they expose an impasse across which a sonic form can never meet with a visual signifier. The works on paper, produced with a solvent transfer process marked by loss as much as contact, come from a continuous series of Annotations, akin to a musician’s inflectional writings on a score that adjust and subjectivize the inadequacies of notated sound. Like a field of decoys, these images attract our predisposition to the visual and invite our everyday sense of distracted hearing, adding yet another site of contemplation to the diverse ecology composing the sensorium of Partials.


Marina Rosenfeld (b. 1968, New York) is an artist and composer who lives and works in Brooklyn. A major solo exhibition, We’ll start a fire, was recently on view at Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel, and she was included in Seeing Sound, curated by Barbara London at Kadist Foundation, San Francisco (2021). Other solo exhibitions include Music Stands at The Artist’s Institute, New York (2019), Deathstar at Portikus, Frankfurt (2017), and After Notation at the Hessel Museum/Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York (2016). Her work was featured in the 2002 and 2008 Whitney Biennials, the Aurora Biennial, Dallas (2020); the Montreal Biennial (2011); PERFORMA Biennial (2009 and 2011); and Every Time A Ear di Soun, curated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and Marcus Gammel for documenta14 (2017). Rosenfeld has mounted large-scale performance works for the Museum of Modern Art, the Park Avenue Armory, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York; the Fondacion Serralves, Porto; South London Gallery, UK; Kunsthall Bergen with /Borealis Festival, Norway; the Stedelijk Museum with the Holland Festival, Amsterdam and Wien Modern, Vienna, among many others. She has also composed for choreographers Ralph Lemon and Maria Hassabi, and performed live sound with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company between 2004-2008.

 Recently released and forthcoming recordings include Leaving, with Ben Vida (901 Editions, Rome, 2021); Teenage Lontano (Room40, Brisbane, 2021); Index (Room40, Brisbane, 2021); and Deathstar (Shelter Press, Paris, 2020). Rosenfeld’s latest publications are Index (Room40, Brisbane, 2021) and roygbiv&b (Run/Off Press, New York, 2019).

In December, 2021, she will stage a new collaborative performance with pianist Marino Formenti for Techtonics Festival at the Onassis Center, Athens, Greece.