When great artists who have inspired me meet, and meet across temporal historical social divides, I grow purulent astral goosebumps. At the risk of being engulfed by the over sized spirited creature of surprise, I stand still for a long moment conjuring up an army of possibilities.
What do Matana Roberts and Eva Hesse have to do with one another? Or is this simply more postmodern American pastiche…That infuriating quilt work approach to culture that has sauntered up and smacked us around now with its hybrid paws for the better part of 30 years at least.
Whatever it is, I was moved to discover saxophonist composer poet and experimental sound musician from Chicago’s own AACM Matana Roberts, a woman I adulate enormously, playing a ditty for Eva Hesse’s complexity of rope, another woman I admire.
In a very Whitney museum type move that invites dialogue, here is the musician speaking to the 1970s rope piece Untitled. Matana Roberts creation of rapport in her i call america musical engagement with the Whitney exhibition America is Hard to See, might be seen to ressemble a call and response. If the conversation resonates authentically it is possibly because Eva Hesses sculpture works more as improvisational piece than as a “finished product”. It makes sense to have a musician from the jazz idiom initiate a conversation: the rope sculpture is always changing from one installation to another. Equally, Mariana Roberts practices free form jazz, experimenting with sound and word.
I invite you to discover some of Matanas work in identity and memory as she examines her geneoligical lines writ large in her Album Coin Coin Gens de Couleur Libre.