Billboard

When music flows into pictures

Back

In order to attract new visitors to the Philharmoniker Hamburg’s upcoming concert “The Moldau” (Vltava) by Bedřich Smetana, an eye-catching work was created in a public space to arouse interest: a 16 by 2 metre billboard, on which artist Debbie Smyth visualised the storyline of this classical piece of music. Working for five days in a Hamburg shopping arcade in front of passers-by, she used 5,900 nails to make 1.2 km of string extend from the four strings of a real violin and flow into all the scenes that Smetana was picturing with his music: a hunting scene, a farmer’s wedding, nymphs in the moonlight, the river growing into rapids and finally reaching the Charles’ Bridge in Prague. Not only is the design concept of this accomplished piece of art – which afterwards was exhibited in front of Hamburg’s music hall – based on an outstanding idea, the public was also included live in the realisation of this work of art. Furthermore, it invited beholders in a highly imaginative manner to contemplate the content of this classical composition. Statement by the jury »Visualising this musical composition, the mural-like artwork is based on the stories narrated in the music. The implementation is marked by a high design quality and artistic handicraft, as well as the purist appearance evoked by the black-on-white contrast. The thickness and structure of the string are informed by rhythmic expres-sivity, the main characteristic of all classical music.«

Credits
  • Client:
    Philharmoniker Hamburg
  • Design:
    Draftfcb Deutschland GmbH, Hamburg
  • artist:
    Debbie Smyth
  • creative direction:
    Dirk Haeusermann, Jessica Schneider, Mario Anspach
  • art direction:
    Tim Lehnebach
  • text:
    Frederik Wetzel
  • account management:
    Guido Kirschner, Sabine Classen, Susanne Knauff, Maik Schneider
  • art buying:
    Katja Nicklaus