“Absolute: Thread” Strings Soft Notes On Antique German Violin
by Daric Gill
There are times where the whisper is more powerful than the roar. “Absolute: Thread” is that voice– simple, soft, and strong.
By its very nature, this antique German violin seduces the viewer with little additional help needed. Its warm hue and alluring curves beg for your attention. Starting off with such a powerful object is a heavy weight that requires finesse to balance. If not handled delicately this weight could amplify the tone of the work with phrases that ripple the wrong voice. Read on to find out why I chose the phrasing that I did.
This piece is special. It is an intimate conversation between you and me. If I am asking you to lean in and listen with such care, there is a lot more pressure to say the right words. Here is the story of Absolute: Thread — simple, soft, and strong.
The white plumage from a mist crow rests softly in the center of the curly maple violin back. Tied neatly around the feather’s quill, a thin red thread. The long ends of the bow dangle asymmetrically towards a delicate wildflower. Three ripe buds are about to bloom into dainty white flowers. Its central position aligns with the book-matched maple seam. The feather leans left, the flower weighted to the right.
On the base of the neck, the capital letter “L” is carved; a memory of the former owner. The initials “E.L.” mimic this memory on the orange peeled black case. Authentic catgut strings are strung over the ebony fingerboard. The strings reach over a bridge that is embossed with “Dresden” on one side and penciled “Weber” on the other.
The violin and its partner case are a special donation coming from the caring connections of my host family here in Dresden. There’s not much one can say when presented with such a gift. To capture the specialness of this moment, I immediately asked for a fond memory from their life in Germany. After thinking for a moment, my host quietly recalled spending time with his father who always invented things for them to work together on. This is a past that I share as well. It’s something I connect with on a deep level.
In line with the other pieces in the Dresden series, the preservation of memory has become a revisiting theme. Historically, there’s a tradition of tying a string around your index finger as a way to make sure you remembered something. This action was figuratively thought to keep that idea from moving throughout your body and being forgotten. The feather, light and airy, may very easily be carried away with a passing breeze. The buds have a few days before bloom. Will the feather be around to see them?
Special thanks to:
Special Thanks to “E.L.”, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Galerie Raskolnikow, Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen
"About the Greater Columbus Arts Council: Through vision and leadership, advocacy and collaboration, the Greater Columbus Arts Council supports art and advances the culture of the region. A catalyst for excellence and innovation, the Arts Council funds exemplary artists and arts organizations and provides programs, events and services of public value that educate and engage all audiences in our community. The Arts Council thanks the City of Columbus and the Ohio Arts Council for their continued support. www.gcac.org"
"About Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen: The foundation initiates, realizes and supports projects. It awards scholarships and buys works by visual artists. Their goals are the development of new forms of artistic expression and the sustainable transmission of contemporary art and culture. The maintenance of cultural heritage and the promotion of young artists are also part of their tasks. It supports projects of national or national importance and contributions to international cultural exchange. With its own projects, the Cultural Foundation is responding to social and cultural change in Saxony and neighboring European countries. It develops programs to support cultural dialogue with European neighbors in Central and Eastern Europe, but also in North America and East Asia. For additional information, visit kdfs.de.