site specific installation, 15 sound sculptures, 3 sketchbooks

Miart 2021,Parenti District, Palazzina dei Bagni Misteriosi, Milan, Italy (2021)

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The Hearth of Etna and 14 singing masks create an antiphonic and immersive choir that, in communication with the memory of the hall and the numerous doors, reunites the principles of Yuval Avital’s research: Man, Nature, Device, Mystery, Submerged Truth.


The sound sculpture Heart of Etna was born within the exhibition Variations on Harmonic Tremor, a detailed exploration of the territory of Etna in Sicily, and was later presented during the artist’s personal exhibition E T E R E at Building Gallery in 2021 (link to page).

Heart of Etna is the result of Yuval Avital’s interpretation of the harmonic tremor, a physical-acoustic phenomenon that usually accompanies the volcanic activity and that manifests itself with the release of seismic energy or infrasonic energy (deep sounds below the human audible range).

In collaboration with scientists from the National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology of Catania (INGV) that tracked and listened to the volcano with more than 200 hundreds detectors, Yuval Avital turned the tremor of Etna in audible sounds, elaborated here as a musical instrument. The tremor can be also perceived from the movement of the water on the top of the sculpture and from the tactile vibration of the iron surfaces.


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The singing masks that compose a complex choir around Heart of Etna were part of the exhibition Nephilìm held at Marino Marini Museum in Florence in 2019.
Yuval Avital presents an original and contemporary interpretation of the biblical myth of the Nephilim, combining tradition and technology in an immersive experiential installation. Realised with few, essential traits these masks incarnate humanoids from the pre-flood era, born from the union between the sons of God and the daughters of Adam called Nephilìm. Each mouth becomes a loudspeaker emitting mantric chants, whispers and visceral breathings, creating a crowd of voices around the spectators.

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The project relies on the secular relation between artists and the tradition of the artisan ateliers in Tuscany: the masks were produced by 24 artisans, expert masters in the manufacturing process of specific materials, such as inlay, alabaster, leather, scagliola, silver thread, papier-mâché, feathers, wrought iron, bronze, brass, yarn, metal, glass, terracotta, ceramic, marble, resin, wood. To each artisan, Yuval had created a unique design and personalized version of the masks, almost an identikit of their mastery, materials, life stories, emotions and inner selves.

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