Project 26
Allora and

Project Summary

For the 26th Kaldor Public Art Project in Australia, internationally renowned artist duo Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla presented the celebrated project Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on 'Ode to Joy' for a Prepared Piano in the State Library of Victoria’s Cowen Gallery. This project combined sound, performance and sculpture, a captivating new experience for audiences.

Engaging, poetic and athletic, Stop, Repair, Prepare creates a relationship between the sculpture, the piano player and the piece of music. The artists cut a large hole from the centre of a Bechstein Grand Piano and made adjustments to the pedals, to allow the pianist to enter the piano and play it from within, wheeling it across the floor as they walk. Upside-down, their contorted and unwieldy performance becomes almost a gymnastic feat.

A meditation on art, idealism and power, the composition performed is the 4th movement of Beethoven’s famous 9th Symphony, known as ‘Ode to Joy’ and widely understood as a hymn to humanity, a testament to human fraternity and brotherhood. This ever-popular piece of classical music has been co-opted throughout its history by proponents of diverse and conflicting politics and ideologies – from nationalists to dictators, demagogues and its more recent adoption as the official anthem of the European Union in 1985. In Allora and Calzadilla’s variation, the work is recognisable but incomplete, as the cut renders two octaves of the piano inoperable and the resulting keys leave only a hollow resonance.

Allora & Calzadilla

Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on 'Ode to Joy' for a Prepared Piano
16 November – 6 December 2012 
Cowen Gallery, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne



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VideoBack to top

Allora and Calzadilla: Episode 1

Allora and Calzadilla: Episode 2

Allora and Calzadilla: Episode 3

Allora & CalzadillaBack to top

Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla create works that explore societal systems and are characterised by their sense of playfulness and use of humour. They respond to these contemporary issues by using visual art as a tool for experimentation and research, creating poetic videos, photographs, collages, sculptures and installations. Allora & Calzadilla often include performative elements in their works, soliciting public interaction and participation.


Education KitBack to top

This Education Kit discusses Allora & Calzadilla’s collaborative practice which explores political ideas through hybrid works.

LEARNING STAGES: Primary (Stages 2-3) | Secondary (Stages 4-6) | Tertiary

CONTENTS: Project overview | Artists’ practice | Artists’ CV | The State Library of Victoria | Performance in visual art | Bibliography | In the classroom

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