Nummer zes (Steinway grand piano. Wake me up to go to sleep and all the colors of the rainbow)
Guido van der Werve, 2006, 17'09''

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A text against a somewhat grubby black background explains how the maker, ever since he was six years old, was in the habit of furnishing his room in only black and white; how one day a ray of sun reached his wall via a reflection from the faade of a glass building on the other side of the street, and how at night when he cannot sleep he goes for a walk and can hardly see a star in the sky. The camera zooms out and the black field turns out to be part of the black-and-white chequered floor in the artist's apartment. He is sitting on a stool at his upright piano, with his back to the keyboard, immersed in thought. The voice-over recounts the history of Steinway & Sons' grand piano, and how very few pianists are privileged enough always to be able to play on suc an instrument. The quay on which the apartment without grand piano is situated comes into view, and we can see Van der Werve continuing his musing, in the window of a pub, near a bridge, in a Chinese snack bar, while the Steinway seems to get further and further out of reach. Finally, we see him gazing through the window of a famous piano retailer that for many years stood in the heart of Amsterdam. Once inside, a brief conversation takes place with an eager shop assistant about the chosen concert grand piano, its price and 'possibilities'. As viewer, your heart sinks into your shoes. But then, the dream seems to have become true: the music swells, we can see the insides of a shiny black grand piano and Van der Werve's hands playing the virginal white keys as if he has effortlessly been able to transport himself into the history just recounted. An entire chamber orchestra, conductor and all, fills the black-and-white room to accompany him in the playing of Chopin's first piano concerto.

Netherlands Media Art Institute, Esma Moukhtar

  • Date: 2006
  • Length: 17'09''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: narrative
  • Keywords: artist, music (subject), personal history